blooms taxonomy

Bloom's Taxonomy

Copyright © 2005 Adam Waxler

What is blooms taxonomy and how can a teacher apply blooms taxonomy to classroom lesson plans?

Blooms taxonomy was originally created Benjamin Bloom for categorizing and classifying levels of intellectual learning that commonly occur in the classroom setting.  Blooms taxonomy contains three overlapping domains: the cognitive, psychomotor, and affective.  Within the cognitive domain Benjamin Bloom identified six levels that have become commonly known as blooms taxonomy.

 

The six levels of blooms taxonomy, from lowest to highest, are: knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.  These different levels of blooms taxonomy have become an extremely useful guide for teachers in planning classroom lesson plans and classroom objectives.

blooms taxonomy

 

Bloom's Taxonomy Verb Chart

Knowledge (Recalling learned material) recall, underline, list. name, record, label, cluster, match, memorize, define, arrange
Comprehension (Understanding the material) understand, show, summarize, explain, describe,  demonstrate, review, cite, restate, locate
Application (Using the material) apply, select, model, organize, illustrate, utilize, choose, imitate, demonstrate, use
Analysis (Breaking material down to increase understanding) analyze, compare, contrast, classify, map, characterize, divide, break down, choose, examine
Synthesis (Reshaping material into a new form) construct, speculate, design, compose, create, develop, invent, blend, propose, formulate
Evaluation (Judging the worth of material) evaluate, convince, argue, judge, criticize, rate, measure, persuade, assess, recommend

It is vitally important that teachers do not just teach lower order thinking skills at the bottom of blooms taxonomy such as knowledge and comprehension, but also teach higher order thinking skills at the top of blooms taxonomy such as evaluation.  When students are evaluating and judging and using the higher order thinking skills of blooms taxonomy they are more likely to retain information, perform better on standardized tests, and most importantly, achieve the ultimate goal of becoming lifelong learners.

There are many ways in which teachers can use blooms taxonomy to help create more focused lesson plans and help students use higher order thinking skills.  By following the blooms taxonomy chart above teachers can pinpoint what they will teach and how they will go about teaching it.  For example, take a social studies lesson plan on the use of the Atomic Bomb to end WWII.  A teacher could teach this lesson by having students read and memorize important key terms and facts.  However, even if the teacher uses a variety of teaching strategies to help increase reading comprehension, the problem is the teacher is only focusing on the lower order thinking skills in blooms taxonomy.  The students may be able to regurgitate the information back on the test, but the student is not using the higher order thinking skills that will help that student retain the information for the long-term and, more importantly, help the student learn to think for himself.

A simply way to teach the same lesson, but also address the higher order thinking skills of blooms taxonomy is to simply have the students write a paragraph “evaluating/judging” Truman’s decision to drop the atomic bomb.  The teacher can still  have the students include the key terms from the lesson in the paragraph, but by having the students also make an argument and support that argument the students are also addressing the higher order thinking skills of blooms taxonomy.


Adam Waxler is a middle school social studies teacher, teacher mentor, and author of eTeach: A Teacher Resource for Learning the Strategies of Master Teachers.  He also publishes the Teaching Tips Machine, a free weekly newsletter.  Go to  http://www.teaching-tips-machine.com to get more teaching tips on blooms taxonomy
 

blooms taxonomy