Students as Questioners – Bloom’s Taxonomy

  • SumoMe

“An educated person today is someone who knows the right question to ask.”

Recently, I’ve been repeating this Ernest Boyer quote to myself.  It encapsulates so much in so few words. Many Socrative posts have focused on how teachers can foster discussions and help facilitate problem based thinking, inquiry and the surfacing of main ideas. Consequently, through modeling and drawing student attention to your questions, they are aware of how and why you are asking particular questions.

It’s time to pass the baton to the students and develop their abilities to ask the high quality questions.

Let’s call on our friend Benjamin Bloom for support.  

Bloom’s revised taxonomy is a great asset for making explicit your motivations behind classroom activities, assignments and discussion starters.  Furthermore, it helps build a common language and structure within your classroom.  As history has shown, this well-known, widely applied scheme filled a void and provided educators with one of the first systematic classifications of the processes of thinking and learning. The cumulative hierarchical framework consisting of six categories each requiring achievement of the prior skill or ability before the next, more complex one, remains easy to understand.

Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy

Remembering Retrieving, recognizing, reproducing and recalling relevant knowledge from long-term memory
Understanding Constructing meaning from oral, written, and graphic messages through interpreting, exemplifying, classifying, summarizing, inferring, comparing, and explaining
Applying Carrying out or using a procedure through executing or implementing
Analyzing Breaking material into constituent parts, determining how the parts relate to one another and to an overall structure or purpose through differentiating, organizing, and attributing
Evaluating Marking judgments based on criteria and standards through checking and critiquing
Creating Putting elements together to form a coherent or functional whole; reorganizing elements into a new pattern or structure through generating, planning, or producing

Developing an Understanding of Bloom’s Taxonomy

Socrative Solution: Utilize Short Response (SR), Multiple Choice (MC) and True/False (TF)

Socrative easily allows everyone in your class to ask and answer the questions!

These activities are not designed to be completed in one day or week.  While you are exploring various topics throughout the semester you can initiate these ideas to help build your students’ questioning skills and cognitive abilities.  Don’t forget to answer the questions!

  • Provide an overview of the taxonomy with examples from your classroom.  Make explicit the categories you are exploring.
  • Have students duplicate or reproduce the question in their own words.  Discuss the questions and evaluate them as a class.  (SR, Vote, TF)
  • Ask questions at various cognitive levels and have students identify or classify the level.  Students should then justify their reasoning.(SR)
  • Create Multiple Choice questions based on the 6 levels and have students identify and select.  Review the results as a class and further explore the levels that are causing the most difficulty. (MC)
  • In small groups, have students compare and contrast multiple questions.  Foster class discussions in which students begin to support and defend their claims. (SR)
  • Have students create their own questions for the class.  Motivate them to use varying levels.  Analyze and critique the questions as a class. (SR, TF)

*These can be done anonymously*


Performances of Understanding – Question Skills in Action

Student Designed Entrance Ticket

Organize your class into pairs and assign each group a week in the fall term.  For the first few weeks of the year have discussions about the entrance ticket questions and make clear your daily goals.  Meet each week with 1 pair and make them aware of what material will be explored the upcoming week.  Ask students to design a 3-question entrance ticket for Thursday or Friday of that week.

Review questions with your students, explore their goals for the questions and finalize the questions. Create and run the entrance ticket.  Make the results visible by projecting the excel data report.  Discuss the results as a class and the effectiveness of the questions.  Where would they fit on Bloom’s Taxonomy?

Finally, task pairs to submit a reflection on the experience.

Post Presentation Questions

Assign students the task of creating 3+ questions based on their presentations.  The questions should represent multiple levels of Bloom’s taxonomy.  Review the questions with each group and analyze why they are asking various questions.  Let students explain their reasoning and support their questions.  Be sure to include this component in the presentation rubric to highlight its importance. It’s often helpful to have students submit answers to their own questions.  Finally, in the post project reflection have students explore whether they would revise their questions?  Why?

Great resources for further exploration

Northern Illinois University

The University of Georgia

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