Bloom’s Taxonomy references a hierarchy of learning processes.
Bloom’s Taxonomy, created by educational psychologist Benjamin Bloom in 1953, is a six-tier pyramid of learning levels beginning with knowledge as the basis of learning. Knowledge is built upon by comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation, with each skill increasing a student’s conceptual understanding of a topic or field of study and experience.
The first level of Bloom’s Taxonomy refers to basic knowledge through defining, memorization, duplicating and listing. Activities that exemplify this level include reciting the ABCs, tracing letters over dotted lines, copying down the definitions of vocabulary words, listing spelling words repeatedly, writing basic facts onto flashcards for memorization, copying teacher notes during class, reciting a poem or listing characters’ names from a story or book.
Comprehension is the understanding of material through discussions, explanations, classification, descriptions, identification and reporting. Comprehension activities include matching letters to words that begin with the letter, writing sentences that exemplify the correct usage of vocabulary words, summarizing a story event verbally or in written form, identifying which formula to use to solve a math problem and determining which locales are north, south, east or west.
Application means that a student can apply his knowledge. Classroom activities such as illustrating or acting out a scene from a story, charading a vocabulary word, answering a multiple-choice question based on a graph, writing a book report, creating a diorama that demonstrates an animal’s habitat or a biome and using a graphic organizer to brainstorm the plot of a fiction story exemplify ways students can apply knowledge.
Analyzing requires students to distinguish, compare, contrast, examine and experiment to understand similarities and differences. Activities include implementing Venn diagrams or T-charts to compare and contrast concepts such as characters, animals, places, weather and shapes. Analytical activities such as creating a survey question for a data analysis project, graphing information, conducting hands-on science experiments, creating a timeline of events, investigating topics on the Internet and writing biographical or expository essays allow students to test and question findings.
Synthesis refers to the evaluation level of learning. Activities that implement evaluation include class debates which require students to take a stance and defend a position with facts. Writing fact-based persuasive essays using research such as statistics and persuasive vocabulary add to evaluation. Students can support and defend the hypothesis of a science experiment or math probability question through a presentation, charted outcomes or written essays. Students can create drawn or acted-out advertisements for a product or campaign or can create a play or puppet show that explores a given topic, fictional idea or historical event.
The evaluation step of Bloom’s Taxonomy refers to a student’s ability to use all levels of knowledge gained to create, assemble or construct. Activities that exemplify this level include graphing the responses to a survey question using various types of graphs, writing an article on a given topic with research-based information and a bibliography, making a map of historical trade routes and explaining the effect and implication of each route, creating wind-powered movement using fans and matchbox cars to show a more economical and “green” form of energy and defending or speaking against a school or societal practice on a panel, through debate or a written essay.