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The Question CARD: 6 Ways to Stimulate Thinking in 4 Easy Steps

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The Question CARD: 6 Ways to Stimulate Thinking in 4 Easy Steps | National Society for the Gifted and Talented (NSGT) | Summer Institute for the GiftedIn education, we often speak about the importance of asking good questions. Questioning is instrumental in assisting the teacher in determining what a student knows, as well as what a student doesn’t know—two pieces of information that are critical in knowing what is needed in the next phase of instruction to keep the student in a meaningful flow of learning.

In gifted education, we emphasize that questions should be used to challenge the student’s thinking, to help the student make new connections and apply information in useful ways, and to practice good problem-solving skills, among other things. 

We can also practice asking good questions as adults and in our personal relationships. Here is an easy way to remember some of the various kinds of questions you can practice in your everyday life. Just think of holding the question CARD. Each letter of the acronym represents a clue to asking varied types of questions, such as the ones listed below.

C is for Compare.

Ask the person you are talking with to compare one thing with another. What emotional experience is similar to the feeling of having to give a speech for you? How does a bird’s flight compare with an airplane’s? What characteristics are similar among heroes?

A is for… many things!

Apply, Argue, and Analyze, to name a few.

  • Apply – What can you do with solar energy in impoverished countries? How can you use your knowledge of income and expenses in financial management to handle pollution policies? How can understanding fears and phobias affect your personal decisions in life?
  • Argue – How can what you know about human diseases help you argue for or against medical treatments? How might your knowledge of cryptology help you support concerns about privacy?
  • Analyze -What are the important factors in good teamwork? What would be the most important first steps in ending human rights abuses in a selected country? How can one country’s foreign policy affect other countries around the world?

R is for Relate.

How does brain plasticity make you think of overall health? How might surveillance be linked to personal and institutional safety? How do statistics relate to future predictions?

D is for Describe.

How might you describe utopia? What colors, shapes, and lines do you see in your imagined landscape painting? How might you design the colors, layout, and interest elements of this room so that it has a calming quality?

These are just a few examples of ways CARD can help you expand the questions you ask to engage people around you in thoughtful interactions. At SIG, questioning is paramount in our courses as we encourage students to approach new knowledge in ways that are meaningful, personal, and authentic to them. A few examples from our curriculum might be:

1. Compare: How might you compare the philosophy of Plato to your own beliefs?

2. Apply: How might you apply what you know about the circulatory system to solutions for heart disease?

Argue: How might you defend your creative method of solving a math problem to the way someone else did it?

Analyze: How might you analyze ocean clean-up efforts in the past to discern the most productive course of action in the next 10 years?

3. Relate: How might the nautilus shell provide food for thought as you design a hurricane proof home?

4. Describe: Describe in detail the prototype you envision for your invention.

These questions are just a few fun examples. Thinking of interesting questions is not only fun, it’s an easy and challenging way to make sure that we are feeding young gifted and creative minds in ways that keep them engaged with their world and feed their intense needs to think broadly and meaningfully.

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