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Over sixty years ago, our dear friend Benjamin Bloom chaired the committee of educators responsible for delivering what we all know today as Bloom’s Taxonomy (a bit rich naming it after himself, but it does have a more catchy ring than Krathwohl‘s Taxonomy). As a key foundation to many modern teaching philosophies, learning methodologies and real-world games, Bloom’s Taxonomy gives a theoretical progression to help classify learning objectives.
While this theoretical model is the backbone for many of our education systems and learning games, turning the theory it into real classroom tasks requires a more practical slant on the taxonomy. In an effort to turn a high level taxonomy into meaningful classroom learning experiences a number of educators have translated each definition into a set of actionable Bloom’s Taxonomy verbs. The below chart visualizes each level of the taxonomy, offering verbs that can be used to traverse a wide range of thinking skills and provide hands-on ideas and inspiration for practical classroom activities.
Bloom’s Taxonomy Verbs
Bloom’s Taxonomy Verbs by Fractus Learning is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
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Using Bloom’s Taxonomy
Bloom’s verbs are quite a helpful tool in your instructional toolbox. Also known and thinking or power verbs, they are a wonderful resource in lesson planning, personalized learning and curriculum mapping.
Teachers may guide students in learning and applying specific thinking skills with the usage of Blooms Taxonomy verbs. They simply focus on using verbs that identify with a specific level. For example, the verb list will determine what the student remembers whereas words like judge, argue and assess may direct the student into higher levels of evaluating data and finding their own conclusion.
The idea is to have a solid foundation of knowledge and to build on it. Although Blooms Taxonomy verbs are set out in a pyramid format, it’s not always as simple as building the pyramid from bottom to the top. A combination of different thinking levels is often represented in a lesson learned.
The same verbs may be used at various levels. It doesn’t mean the questions will be the same because the same verb is used. These verbs help phrase what the objective the teacher wants to measure. Using the same taxonomy, the outcome of the question and the way the question is phrased will differ for the various thinking categories.
These insightful verbs are measurable and help teachers create questions and assignments that are quantifiable. The verbs help avoid using verbs that don’t lead to measuring and quantifying an outcome.
It may be a learning curve, but when these techniques are used correctly, it becomes a powerful teaching tool. Usage of these verbs aren’t limited to assessing a student’s knowledge and their understanding of a subject; it is a highly effective tool in mapping out a curriculum; in planning the required lessons for the curriculum; and helping students in personalizing and differentiating learning.
Working from the bottom of the pyramid to the top, the 6 levels are knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.
A student’s knowledge is assessed by asking questions to see what they’ve remembered from the lesson. Their ability to recall knowledge is tested with multiple choice questions or by asking simply what, where, and how questions.
Verbs examples used to phrase questions to test what the student has previously learned are:
arrange, define, describe, duplicate, identify, label, list, match, memorize, name, order, recognize, relate, recall, repeat, reproduce, and state.
Asking students to summarize, describe or discuss a topic helps determine their level of understanding of the lesson. The student retrieving the knowledge and building new connections in their mind.
Examples of verbs to demonstrate what the student understands are:
classify, convert, defend, describe, discuss, explain, express, generalize, identify, indicate, infer, locate, paraphrase, predict, recognize, report, restate, review, select, and translate.
At this level, students apply what they’ve learned and understood from the lesson by following a process. A great way to test a student’s thinking ability at this level is to require them to apply their understanding to real situations.
Useful application taxonomy verb examples for are:
apply, choose, compute, demonstrate, discover, dramatize, employ, illustrate, interpret, manipulate, operate, practice, prepare, schedule, sketch, solve, use, and write.
The analysis level shifts from mere remembering, understanding, and applying knowledge to analyzing a problem. By using these lower level cognative skills, students break down content and ideas into simpler concept and evidence to support generalizations.
Examples of analyzing verbs teachers may use are:
analyze, appraise, breakdown, calculate, categorize, compare, contrast, criticize, differentiate, discriminate, distinguish, examine, experiment, point out, question, select, separate, and test.
Now students are at a level to predict and theorize about what they’ve learned. They compile information and ideas into new and alternative solutions.
Creative verbs to define these types of questions are:
arrange, assemble, collect, comply, compose, construct, create, design, develop, explain, formulate, manage, organize, plan, prepare, propose, rearrange, rewrite, set up, synthesize, and write.
The highest level of Bloom‘s taxonomy model is to use what they’ve learned, to evaluate, and to apply their knowledge in finding a conclusion based on internal evidence or external criteria.
Evaluating verbs to help phrase “what if” questions are:
appraise, argue, assess, attach, choose, conclude, compare, defend estimate, interpret, judge, predict, relate, rate, core, select, support, and value.