Blooms Taxonomy How To Ask Your Child Higher Level Thinking Questions

  • This worksheet is excerpted from The Scholastic Differentiated Instruction Plan Book by Cindy Middendorf.

    Understanding Bloom’s Taxonomy (Bloom, 1956) will help you focus on moving all students toward higher levels of thinking, processing, and questioning. Initial instruction should focus on knowledge and comprehension. As students become competent with basic skills, our goal is to move students to more complex tasks (those that require thinking at higher levels), instead of simply more difficult tasks (those that require more time, skills, or knowledge).

    Levels of ThinkingProcessing SkillsAssessments/Products
    (I know.)
    I remember.
    I know.
    I recall.
    I define.
    Make a list, label a picture, fill in the blanks, match, write an article, recite, do a timeline.
    (I understand.)
    I reword or retell.
    I summarize.
    I explain.
    I paraphrase.
    Cut out or draw pictures to illustrate a concept, role-play, retell, give examples, write a summary as a newsreport.
    (I use what I know.)
    I research.
    I demonstrate how.
    I solve a problem.
    I perform.
    Construct a model or diorama, write headlines, teach a lesson, design a brochure, give a demonstration.
    (I breakdown information.)
    I compare and contrast.
    I note relationships.
    I reason that....
    I categorize.
    Write a commercial, design a questionnaire, make a compare/contrast chart, create a flowchart.
    (I form and support opinions.)
    I justify.
    I recommend.
    I predict.
    I critique.
    Write a rubric, conduct a debate, compose persuasive arguments, give recommendations.
    (I use knowledge and skills to create something new.)
    I plan.
    I infer.
    I propose.
    I invent.
    Design a structure, create an invention, draw a cartoon, devise an experiment, write a song, poem, or story.

    The Six Levels of Thinking

    Bloom's Taxonomy of Educational Objectives explains that the process of thinking actually involves several levels. Infants and toddlers use mostly the first two levels, but by age 3 children can use all six.

    1. Gathering knowledge consists of acquiring basic pieces of information. Asking children to identify and describe objects encourages thinking on this level.

    2. Comprehending and confirming involves looking at the meaning of the knowledge that has been gathered and drawing conclusions from it. A good question to encourage this level of thinking might be, for example, "The yellow sponge floats. What about the other sponges?"

    3. Applying entails using what has been learned in new situations. Asking children to consider a newly learned fact as they build or make something can foster this level of thinking. 

    4. Analyzing involves thinking about a whole in terms of its various parts. You can encourage this level of thinking by asking children what materials could be used for a particular classroom project.

    5. Synthesizing consists of putting parts together to form a whole. Asking children how to use an array of materials to create something, for example, invites thinking on this level. 

    6. Evaluating entails making comparisons and judgments. You can encourage this level of thinking by asking children which of the materials they used worked the best.To read more about these six levels of thinking, see Taxonomy of Educational Objectives by Benjamin S. Bloom (Longman).