teach a year of third grade using no books or print media of any kind?
teach a year of third grade using no pencils, whiteboard, or writing materials of any kind?
“Would you rather…” questions are great for practicing critical thinking because they require you to evaluate two different but seemingly equally appealing (or unappealing) options and choose one. One way to use these questions is to ask them whenever you have an extra few minutes. In a classroom setting, it can be valuable to have kids first choose by a show of hands and then discuss the question. If you want to get some movement into the activity, designate one end of the room for each answer and have students move to make their choice. Then ask students to share why they chose one option or another. Pose the question a second time to allow students the opportunity to choose a different option. This exercise is not only fun, but it also helps kids become more flexible on their thought patterns. Rather than holding onto an idea no matter what, they learn to consider others’ opinions.
There are several different kinds of this type of question that you can pose. Some are very basic:
- Would you rather be a pencil or a rubber band?
- Would you rather be a good athlete or a good student?
- Would you rather be able to fly or turn invisible?
These ones make good writing or discussion prompts and should always include a follow-up question asking why.
Some questions have an ethical bent and ask you to pick one value over another:
- Would you rather have someone give you $100 or give $1,000 to the charity of your choice?
- Would you rather have parents who loved you but were poor or have parents who did not love you but were rich and gave you everything you wanted?
These are great for discussion. You will learn a lot about your students as you listen to them defend their choices.
Some questions use the same variables:
- Would you rather be allowed to shower every day but never be allowed to wash your clothes or never be allowed to shower but have clean clothes each day?
- Would you rather never be allowed to eat your five favorite foods for the rest of your life or be allowed to eat only your five favorite foods for the rest of your life?
Some are fun and silly:
- Would you rather jump into a pool of marshmallows or a pool of jello?
- Would you rather have yummy edible hair that regrew each night or have retractable wheels on the bottoms of your feet?
or only offer unappealing choices:
- Would you rather go to school in your underwear or have to eat worms for lunch?
- Would you rather have a head the size of an orange or a watermelon?
Kids seem to especially like those one!
Asking the questions is great, but you can step it up by having kids come up with their own questions. Writing these questions requires kids to not only create two options but also to evaluate whether or not those options are roughly equal in appeal. Part of the process is answering the questions, so be sure and give students an opportunity to share their questions with the rest of the class. Consider creating a class Would You Rather Book.
Have you used this type of questions with your class? How did it go?