In 2001, a former student named Lorin Anderson with her colleagues, revised Bloom’s taxonomy. Bloom’s was initially published in 1956. The goal: To be more user-friendly for teachers to use Bloom’s Taxonomy in the classroom. The original taxonomy was a teaching framework explaining how people learn new skills, knowledge, and understandings.
6 Levels in Bloom’s Taxonomy
The six levels in cognitive development illustrated by Bloom’s Taxonomy from the lowest level to the highest are knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.
- Knowledge is remembering what the student has learned through memorization or rote learning.
- Comprehension is understanding the information in such a manner that the student can explain or summarize it in their own words; translate from one form to another, g., numbers to words; and estimate trends, consequences or effects.
- Applications are using rules, theories, principles, and laws the student has learned to find practical solutions in new situations through problem-solving and extracting ideas.
- Analysis break content into components illustrating relationships between the parts, identifying individual components and understanding the organizational structure.
- Synthesis needs innovation to plan, create, and make new structures using theory, design, and testing.
- Evaluation is the ability to decide and support your decision by assessing, judging and critiquing the material.
Changes Made Result in A Revised Taxonomy
The Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy’s changed mainly three things:
- They used verbs instead of nouns for the categories: Remembering, Understanding, Applying, Analyzing, Evaluating, and Creating.
- Three categories were renamed: Knowledge changed to Remembering; Comprehension to Understanding; and Synthesis became Creating.
- In the hierarchy levels, Creating, became the highest level and Evaluating the second highest.
Although Bloom’s Taxonomy levels are in hierarchical order, it doesn’t mean that the one level must be mastered before moving on to the next level. It also doesn’t mean that the higher levels are more important than, the lower levels or the other way around.
Each level has its functions in the cognitive development and abilities of the students. Remembering (Knowledge), for example, is the lowest level. A student who memorizes content easily will be able to recall the knowledge immediately and apply it when analyzing, creating or evaluating data. It helps to identify and connecting data easier too.
Using The Taxonomy in Planning Lessons
When preparing a lesson, a teacher prepares activities and questions related to the material taught. A well-planned lesson will help the students think and act in most or all six levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy.
Each level has relevant action verbs that help the teacher incorporate the six taxonomy levels during lesson planning. When the teacher uses these action verbs, they can stimulate a different way of thinking in their students.
To test the student’s knowledge, words like list, repeat, and define, are used. Discuss, describe, and explain prompts the student to relay their understanding. Compute, sketch, use, and operate prompts application. To compare and to contrast information action verbs like classify, dissect, and examine are used. Role-play and speculate inspires creating and words like consider, determine, and recommend will help the student express their personal values.
Using the action verbs in questions and activities, the teacher steers the student to function in that specific level. The creativity and to what extent the action verbs are used is limited to the teacher’s imagination when planning the lesson.
Planning an Overarching Objective in Multiple Lessons
An objective that can’t be accomplished in one lesson could be planned over multiple lessons by applying Bloom’s Taxonomy.
To teach a student to work independently or improve their critical thinking skills, for example, the teacher will plan a series of lessons that include this overarching objective. By using Bloom’s taxonomy as a framework, the overarching objective is included in the subjects taught.
At the beginning of the lesson series, the students are introduced to the objective the teacher wants to teach them. When they understand the concept, the next step is to recognize where this skill could be applied in the different subjects they study. Slowly they move up the hierarchical levels until they reach the top and can evaluate the concept.
Planning Lessons By Grouping the Taxonomy Levels
To ensure that the lesson contains all the taxonomy levels, group the levels into three groups.
- Knowledge and Comprehension is the foundation and basic levels.
- Application and Analysis support and focuses on exploring the concepts.
- Synthesis and Evaluation are the highest and most complex levels.
Divide the lesson into three parts assigning a group to each level. Next, create activities and questions focusing on the levels represented in each lesson part.
The same technique can be applied to an activity. Instead of dividing the lesson into three parts, do it with the activity.
Students Create Questions Using The Framework
Using the taxonomy to create questions assists teachers tremendously when planning lessons. How about switching it around? Let the students, device the questions to test their peers.
Start by explaining the Boom’s Taxonomy hierarchical model to them. Explain the taxonomy in detail with examples for each level. Then divide the class into groups. Give them a few minutes (5 to 10 minutes) to create two questions for each taxonomy level about the lesson.
The goal of the questions is to test their competition’s knowledge and understanding of the lesson. Create pairs in opposing groups to compete against each other. For a competitive edge, keep score.
Another method is to have each student create a question for each taxonomy level. Have six boxes, one for each level. The students place their questions in the appropriate boxes. The students can play in teams or pairs. As a team, they must answer a certain number of questions from each box. As pairs, one student takes a question from a box that the other student must answer.
3 Challenging Activities Using Blooms’ Structure
Synthesis (Creating) and Evaluation (Evaluating) are the two highest levels in Bloom’s Taxonomy and perfect to create activities to challenge students. Here are three examples a teacher can use to inspire creativity in their students.
Create an Ad
At the end of the lesson divide the class into three to five groups. Each group is instructed to create an ad that will prompt their peers to buy the lesson that was taught. Give them 20-30 minutes for the task.
Alternatively, the class could create an advertising campaign. Each group can work on a specific type of ad, for example, advertising on a website, a radio ad, on television, billboard or school poster.
When presenting the ad, their fellow students can assess the success of the ad.
Defend a Statement
Divide the class into groups with an equal number of students—five to seven. Give them a statement with a set of explanations, one for each student in the group. Each student has 30 seconds to defend their statement to the group.
Alternatively, give them each a statement in a group. Allow 15-20 minutes for each student to create three arguments to defend the statement received.
Another option is to have the students choose a statement, preferably the most challenging one. They must write a speech or convincing argument defending that statement.
Use original writing outside of the English language classroom. Assign writing tasks using various platforms in different class subjects. For example:
- Interview an art class student and write a newspaper article.
- Create a series of diary or journal entries based on a famous person related to science or biology.
- Write a biography on a mathematician or accountant and what they contributed to mathematics or bookkeeping.
- Write a screenplay about a historical event, a famous battle, or discovery.
- Create log entries or journal entries as if you are a famous discoverer or explorer or ship’s, captain.
20 More Ways to Use Bloom’s Taxonomy
The three obvious ways to use Bloom’s Taxonomy is in lesson planning, creating questions, and assessments. Here are another 20 ways to use the taxonomy levels and verbs in the classroom.
- Personalize learning by challenging students at their level.
- Support students in self-directed learning.
- Provide feedback.
- Map the curriculum.
- Create students progress visually.
- Use the taxonomy to assess your understanding of a topic.
- Summarize a lesson or reading passage.
- Classroom discussions or informal group discussions.
- Brainstorm topics for lessons.
- Evaluate the significance of a historical event.
- Improve assessments and follow-up.
- Improve direct questions to cover various levels.
- Plan video lesson series, podcasts or webinars.
- Create digital citizenship activities or campaign.
- Plan project-based learning.
- Brainstorm ideas for lessons, questions, and activities.
- Evaluate winners in debates or competitive class activities.
- Plan and create a scavenger hunt.
- Use Bloom’s Taxonomy apps.
- Plan and adapt to a digital learning environment.
There are numerous ways a teacher can use Bloom’s taxonomy in the classroom. How do you use the taxonomy framework to inspire your students to think differently and to improve their thinking skills?