Think back to your days in an introductory-level education or psychology course. If I were to guess, you were most likely exposed to Bloom’s Taxonomy when you discussed higher-level thinking. The taxonomy is a visual representation of the different levels of thinking learners engage with while processing information. Lower-level questioning can be categorized at the bottom of the model: simple fact recall and comprehension questions. Higher-order questions fall in the upper levels of the model: applying information or analyzing content.
During my undergraduate coursework and early in my teaching career, I have found myself referring back to this model to help guide my instruction. Teaching in its purest form is effective questioning. As an educator, I am responsible for guiding my students on a path towards understanding. One of the most effective, and student-friendly, ways of doing this is through questioning. To be an impactful teacher is to be a skillful questioner.
But this is where it can get tricky: how can we, as educators, take what we know about Bloom’s taxonomy and higher-order questioning and apply it in a day-to-day classroom setting? Thankfully, I stumbled upon this Curriculet article. The article addressed this exact issue by generated question stems for each of the levels in Bloom’s taxonomy. The stems are laid out below. I hope that these stems will find their way into your classroom, I know they will end up in mine.
Level 1: Remember – Recalling Information
Key words: Recognize, List, Describe, Retrieve, Name, Find, Match, Recall, Select, Label, Define, Tell
- What is…?
- Who was it that…?
- Can you name…?
- Describe what happened after…?
- What happened after…?
Level 2: Understand – Demonstrate an understanding of facts, concepts and ideas
Key words: Compare, Contrast, Demonstrate, Describe, Interpret, Explain, Extend, Illustrate, Infer, Outline, Relate, Rephrase, Translate, Summarize, Show, Classify
- Can you explain why…?
- Can you write in your own words?
- Write a brief outline of…?
- Can you clarify…?
- Who do you think…?
- What was the main idea?
Level 3: Apply – Solve problems by applying knowledge, facts, techniques and rules in a unique way
Key words: Apply, Build, Choose, Construct, Demonstrate, Develop, Draw, Experiment with, Illustrate, Interview, Make use of, Model, Organize, Plan, Select, Solve, Utilize
- Do you know of another instance where…?
- Demonstrate how certain characters are similar or different?
- Illustrate how the belief systems and values of the characters are presented in the story.
- What questions would you ask of…?
- Can you illustrate…?
- What choice does … (character) face?
Level 4: Analyze – Breaking information into parts to explore connections and relationships
Key words: Analyze, Categorize, Classify, Compare, Contrast, Discover, Divide, Examine, Group, Inspect, Sequence, Simplify, Make Distinctions, Relationships, Function, Assume, Conclusions
- Which events could not have happened?
- If … happened, what might the ending have been?
- How is… similar to…?
- Can you distinguish between…?
- What was the turning point?
- What was the problem with…?
- Why did… changes occur?
Level 5: Evaluate – Justifying or defending a position or course of action
Key words: Award, Choose, Defend, Determine, Evaluate, Judge, Justify, Measure, Compare, Mark, Rate, Recommend, Select, Agree, Appraise, Prioritize, Support, Prove, Disprove. Assess, Influence, Value
- Judge the value of…
- Can you defend the character’s position about…?
- Do you think… is a good or bad thing?
- Do you believe…?
- What are the consequences…?
- Why did the character choose…?
- How can you determine the character’s motivation when…?
Level 6: Create – Generating new ideas, products or ways of viewing things
Key words: Design, Construct, Produce, Invent, Combine, Compile, Develop, Formulate, Imagine, Modify, Change, Improve, Elaborate, Plan, Propose, Solve
- What would happen if…?
- Can you see a possible solution to…?
- Do you agree with the actions?…with the outcomes?
- What is your opinion of…?
- What do you imagine would have been the outcome if… had made a different choice?
- Invent a new ending.
- What would you cite to defend the actions of…?