Asking questions using Bloom's Taxonomy
Bloom’s taxonomy is a hierarchy of levels of thinking, and verbs that support each level, that can be used to create objectives, learning activities, and questions for discussion. Graphically, Bloom’s taxonomy is represented in many ways—one popular version is this:
Bloom's taxonomy can be used to create questions and learning activities. One way to do this is to embed a Bloom's verb in a question or command. Each level of Bloom's taxonomy has specific verbs that are associated with the level. Simply select a verb from the list and embed it into a question or command. Voila! Your questions and commands can then be used for discussions and for more engaged learning.
The KNOWLEDGE level of Bloom’s Taxonomy is a foundational level of thinking. Questions/commands are usually easy and straight forward. Answers can usually be regurgitated in single words or short phrases from material read. No creative thinking takes place. This level is helpful for a quick recall of details, definitions and facts.
· LIST the characters in the story.
· RECALL what the bears were eating for breakfast.
· DESCRIBE where the story takes place.
The comprehension level is also a foundational level of thinking. Questions are only slightly more difficult than those at the knowledge level, and can usually be answered with phrases or short sentences. Very little, if any, creative thinking takes place. This level is helpful for checking student’s understanding.
· EXPLAIN why the bears went for a walk.
· GIVE AN EXAMPLE of something Goldilocks did that might upset Baby Bear.
· RESTATE what Goldilocks said about each bear’s bowl of porridge.
The application level of Bloom’s Taxonomy begins to cross the bridge from foundational knowledge to higher level knowledge. Questions are slightly more difficult than those at the knowledge and comprehension level, but typically, they can no longer be answered with phrases or short sentences. Furthermore, they usually involve a “doing” action. Creative thinking begins to takes place as students apply the knowledge they have learned at the previous two levels. This level is helpful for assessing the transfer of knowledge to a setting beyond discussion and written answers.
· DRAMATIZE the scene in which the bears return home and find that Goldilocks has been in their house.
· COMPUTE the total cost of the damages caused by Goldilocks.
· PAINT a picture of your favorite scene from the story.
The analysis level of Bloom’s Taxonomy is the first level that fully involves higher level thinking. Questions are slightly more difficult than those at the application, but significantly more difficult than the knowledge and comprehension levels. Analysis involves the “taking apart” of concepts. This level is a necessary prelude to the next level of Bloom’s taxonomy.
· COMPARE the story Goldilocks and the Three Bears with the story Little Red Riding Hood.
· BREAK DOWN Goldilocks and the Three Bears into separate scenes.
· DIAGRAM the characters in Goldilocks and the Three Bears and the items from the story that belonged to each.
The synthesis level of Bloom’s Taxonomy is the level in which the most creativity takes place. Whereas analysis involves the “taking apart” of concepts, synthesis involves putting the parts
together again in a new way. This level is often considered the most “fun” level of Bloom’s Taxonomy, for both teachers and students.
· COMPOSE a song about Goldilocks and the Three Bears.
· SUPPOSE Goldilocks and the Three Bears were rewritten as Goldilocks and the Three Fish. How would the story be different?
· INVENT a device that would have prevented Goldilocks from sampling the bears’ porridge.
The evaluation level of Bloom’s Taxonomy is the highest level of thinking. At least, under the old Bloom’s taxonomy, it is the highest level. In the new Bloom’s taxonomy, synthesis and evaluation are reversed, but as long as teachers are asking questions and involving students in learning experiences at the higher levels of Bloom’s, we needn’t be too concerned about what level is on top.
· JUDGE whether or not Goldilocks should be arrested for breaking and entering.
· DEFEND Goldilocks for entering a house, eating food, sitting on chairs, and sleeping on a bed that did not belong to her.
· EXPLAIN the value this story might have in teaching children principles of safety.
Verbs commonly associated with knowledge: define, describe, identify, know, label, list, tell, repeat, match, name, outline, recall, recognize, reproduce, select, state.
Verbs commonly associated with comprehension:
comprehend, convert, demonstrate, distinguish, estimate, explain, extend, generalize, gives an example, infer, interpret, match, paraphrase, predict, reword, rewrite, restate, summarize, translate.
Verbs commonly associated with application:
apply, change, compute, construct, demonstrate, discover, dramatize, draw, manipulate, modify, operate, organize, predict, prepare, produce, relate, paint, show, sketch, solve, use.
Verbs commonly associated with analysis:
analyze, break down, categorize, compare, contrast, classify, diagram, deconstruct, differentiate, discriminate, distinguish, infer, outline, point out, relate, select, separate.
Verbs commonly associated with synthesis:
combine, compile, compose, create, construct, devise, develop, design, explain, generate, invent, modify, organize, plan, produce, rearrange, reconstruct, relate, reorganize, revise, rewrite, summarize, suppose, write.
Verbs commonly associated with evaluation:
appraise, compare, conclude, contrast, criticize, critique, defend, describe, discriminate, evaluate, explain, interpret, judge, justify, relate, summarize, support.