Understanding and Applying Bloom’s Taxonomy

Bloom's Taxonomy is named after a person named Benjamin Bloom, this taxonomy was created for educational purposes. This theory first appeared in 1956 in this theory, the purpose of education is divided into 3 hierarchical models, namely the Cognitive Domain, the Affective Domain and the Psychomotor Domain. Each domain has a function.

  • Cognitive Domain, which contains behaviors that emphasize intellectual aspects, such as knowledge, understanding, and thinking skills.
  • Affective Domain contains behaviors that emphasize feelings and emotions, such as interests, attitudes, appreciation, and self-ways.
  • Psychomotor Domain which contains behaviors that emphasize aspects of motor skills such as handwriting, typing, swimming, and operating machines.

Each of these domains is further divided into several hierarchical levels into sub-categories ranging from the simplest to the most complex.

Benjamin Bloom And His Taxonomy

Benjamin Bloom is recognised as the the leader in the pursuit of defining educational objectives early this century. Developing a classification system (a taxonomy) of educational objectives, Bloom divided his findings into three domains;

Bloom listed six basic objectives within the COGNITIVE domain:

1. Knowledge – remembering or recognising something previously encountered without necessarily understanding, using, or changing it.
2. Comprehension – understanding the material being communicated without necessarily relating it to anything else.
3. Application – using general concept to solve a particular problem.
4. Analysis – breaking something down into parts.
5. Synthesis – creating something new by combining different ideas.
6. Evaluation – judging the value of materials or methods as they might be applied in a particular situation.

Bloom listed five basic objectives in the AFFECTIVE domain:

1. Receiving – being aware of or attending to something in the environment.
2. Responding – showing some new behaviour as a result of experience.
3. Valuing – showing some definite involvement or commitment.
4. Organisation – integrating a new value into one’s general set of values, giving it some ranking among one’s general priorities.
5. Characterisation by value – acting consistently with the new value.

Bloom listed six basic objectives in the PSYCHOMOTOR domain:

1. Reflex movements – actions that occur involuntarily in response to some stimulus.
2. Basic fundamental movements – innate movement patterns formed from a combination of reflex movements.
3. Perceptual abilities – translation of stimuli received through the senses into appropriate movements.
4. Physical abilities – basic movements and abilities that are essential to the development of more highly skilled movements.
5. Skilled movements – more complex movements requiring a certain degree of efficiency.
6. Non-discursive movements – ability to communicate through body movement.

The above information is taken solely from
Woolfolk, A.E. Educational Psychology Fourth Edition
(New Jersey, USA: Prentice Hall, 1990)

The following is an example of how Bloom’s Taxonomy may be implemented into a working curriculum unit
– (in this instance a “Science” unit)
Taken from Joseph, J. and Brown, K Authentic Assessment Workshop 1998

Theme – Ecology Systems (Ecosystems)

Convergent processes

Knowledge – define, identify, list, locate, recall
Simple – What is an ecosystem?
Extended – Define an ecosystem and list the varieties that are found in South Australia.

Comprehension – compare, summarise, explain, convert
Simple – List the different parts of the ecosystem and explain what they do.
Extended – Compare a marine ecosystem with one from another area of our state.

Application – apply, calculate, practice, demonstrate
Simple – using a diagram, show how the water cycle operates in an ecosystem.
Extended – Demonstrate what happens when humans interfere with the water cycle.

Divergent processes

Analysis – analyse, contrast, deduce, differentiate, distinguish, infer
Simple – Contrast the natural water cycle with that used by our community
Extended – Examine an ecosystem that has been damaged by human interference. Avoided how?

Synthesis – compose, create, design, formulate, produce, rearrange
Simple – Identify an unspoilt ecosystem and design a way of preserving it.
Extended – How would preserving our local ecosystems enhance our environment?

Evaluation – appraise, assess, critique, judge, support
Simple – It it reasonable that people pollute our water
ways? Defend your answer.
Extended – Assess the impact of pollution in our local waterways.

Relating Bloom’s Taxonomy to Special Needs
Using the six levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy to plan questions and activities provides the scope for student negotiation and the opportunity to differentiate the curriculum for some students in accordance with their interests, abilities and specific learning needs.

Applying Bloom’s Taxonomy is a WHOLE class exercise and is inclusive of both mainstream and special need children.

Teachers choosing to use the taxonomy in this way may structure learning experiences so that :-

* All students work through the Knowledge and Comprehension stage, then select one activity from each of the other levels
* All students work through the Knowledge and Comprehension stage and then select activities from any other levels
* Some work through the knowledge and comprehension stage and others work at higher levels. (This is particularly relevant for Gifted and Talented children).
* All students work from any level
* Some activities are tagged as essential – some as optional
* Select a thinking process as a focus – e.g. Analysis (where instruction is being provided in that process)
* Some work through Knowledge and Comprehension stage, then write down their own activity at their own preferred level
* Students write their own activity/questions from the taxonomy. (Engaging the students in this activity serves as a useful lead-in to the negotiated student project to follow.)

Teaching using Bloom’s Taxonomy

Knowledge1.Knowledge (finding out)
a. Use- records, films, videos, models, events, media, diagrams, books…
b. observed behaviour- ask match, discover, locate, observe, listen.

Comprehension2. Comprehension (understanding)
a. Use- trends, consequences, tables, cartoons….
b. observed behaviour- chart, associate, contrast, interpret, compare.

Application3. Application (making use of the knowledge)
a. use- collection, diary, photographs, sculpture, stitchery, illustration.
b. observed behaviour- list, construct, teach, paint, manipulate, report.

4. Analysis questions (taking apart the known)
a. use- graph, survey, diagram, chart, questionnaire, report….
b. observed behaviour- classify, categorise, dissect, advertise, survey.

Synthesis5. Synthesis (putting things together in another way)
a. use- article, radio show, video, puppet show, inventions, poetry, short story…
b. observed behaviour- combine, invent, compose, hypothesis, create, produce, write.

Evaluation6. Evaluation (judging outcomes)
a. use- letters, group with discussion panel, court trial, survey, self-evaluation, value, allusions…
b. observed behaviour- judge, debate, evaluating, editorialise, recommend

Bloom in Practice

Below is an example of how Bloom’s Taxonomy can be used in the classroom.

I will actually be using this myself during my final practicum and each section of Bloom’s taxonomy will be listed on a separate poster, displayed in the classroom, that will detail the two learning foci, namely – Food Advertising and Nutrition

This is part of an eight-week unit in the key learning of the Arts, that will focus mainly on the Media influence on our eating and dietary habits.

Students will be choosing activities from the posters as part of a point system they need to fulfil in this unit.

The low-order thinking tasks, (that is, Knowledge, Comprehension, and Application) will earn 1, 2 and 3 points respectively, while the high-order thinking tasks will earn 5 for Analysis and Evaluation and 6 for Synthesis.
(It is quite possible to use a different combination of points, depending on the task difficulty assigned)

Food Advertising



(Factual answers, Recall and Recognition)

List 10 advertisements that use women’s bodies to sell their food products.

Describe what the advertisers use in the Hungry Jacks advertisement to sell their products.

Name 10 food advertisements that make junk food look like it is healthy and good food.

Name the food groups and at least two items of food in each group

List 12 items that would go in the Bread group.

Make an acrostic poem about healthy food


(Translating, Interpreting, showing understanding)

Explain why advertisements use music to sell their food products

Outline in your own words how the Leggo’s Tomato Paste advertisement sells their product.

What was the main idea behind the Magnum ice-cream advertisement?

Cut out ten healthy items from food packages or magazines and paste them under a heading of healthy foods in your Media book

Write a simple menu for breakfast, lunch or dinner using the food guide chart

Make a healthy food colouring book suitable for 5 year old children


(Using information gained in different, familiar situations)

Which factors would you change if you had to redo the Campbell’s soup advertisement?

Construct a script for Uncle Toby’s Muesli Bars using a completely different theme.

What 6 questions would you ask if you had to interview the advertisers of Milo about their product? The questions need to find out information for your school and whether or not the product is suitable for the canteen.

Find some photos which would best describe how you feel because of what you eat.

Write a one page example of how you would teach about the new food guide. Include your resources.

What would you ask shoppers in a supermarket if you were doing a survey of what food they eat? (10 questions)


(Break into parts to examine more closely)

Compare two dog food commercials. What is the difference between them and how do they both sell their products?

Write a new commercial for Mars Bar that tells only the truth but will still sell them effectively.

Design a questionnaire about coffee or tea that you can ask of ten people for a report to give to your advertiser so that they can then decide how to sell their product.

Design a questionnaire that would gather enough information to know how to stock the canteen with a wide variety of healthy food.

Write a biography about an important person in the food industry.

Prepare a report about what the people in this class eat for breakfast


(Judge, use criteria, rank and substantiate)

Do you think it is a good or bad thing that advertising uses women’s bodies to sell products? Why?

How would you handle it if you had made the Magnum ice-cream advertisement and you received many complaints from the public?

Write a letter to Hungry Jacks explaining why you think their advertising is false and misleading.

Make a booklet about 10 important eating habits that would be suitable for the whole school to follow in order to eat correctly.

Conduct a debate with two teams of 3 in each team about why advertising is wrong to use women’s bodies to sell its products.

Write a letter to Sanitarium asking if they would be able to help you with some research into how they make Weet
bix, how many they sell and one other fact.


(Combining information to new situations to create new products, ideas, etc.)

Create a new food product, Give it a name and detail how you will advertise it.

Design a 30 second radio advertisement about a new food product you have made.

Construct a poster that will advertise your new food product in an exciting and irresistible way.

Design a healthy menu that you think most people would enjoy using the healthy eating guide.

Create a song and dance to sell bananas.

Design a canteen of the future that will only sell /serve healthy foods. What sort of signs and logos would it use?

Applying Bloom's Taxonomy



Useful Verbs

Sample Question Stems

Potential activities and products
What happened after…?
How many…?
Who was it that…?
Can you name the…?
Describe what happened at…?
Who spoke to…?
Can you tell why…?
Find the meaning of…?
What is…?
Which is true or false…?
Make a list of the main events..
Make a timeline of events.
Make a facts chart.
Write a list of any pieces of information you can remember.
List all the …. in the story.
Make a chart showing…
Make an acrostic.
Recite a poem.




Useful Verbs

Sample Question Stems

Potential activities and products
Can you write in your own words…?
Can you write a brief outline…?
What do you think could of happened next…?
Who do you think…?
What was the main idea…?
Who was the key character…?
Can you distinguish between…?
What differences exist between…?
Can you provide an example of what you mean…?
Can you provide a definition for…?
Cut out or draw pictures to show a particular event.
Illustrate what you think the main idea was.
Make a cartoon strip showing the sequence of events.
Write and perform a play based on the story.
Retell the story in your words.
Paint a picture of some aspect you like.
Write a summary report of an event.
Prepare a flow chart to illustrate the sequence of events.
Make a colouring book.




Useful Verbs

Sample Question Stems

Potential activities and products
Do you know another instance where…?
Could this have happened in…?
Can you group by characteristics such as…?
What factors would you change if…?
Can you apply the method used to some experience of your own…?
What questions would you ask of…?
From the information given, can you develop a set of instructions about…?
Would this information be useful if you had a …?
Construct a model to demonstrate how it will work.
Make a diorama to illustrate an important event.
Make a scrapbook about the areas of study.
Make a paper-mache map to include relevant information about an event.
Take a collection of photographs to demonstrate a particular point.
Make up a puzzle game suing the ideas from the study area.
Make a clay model of an item in the material.
Design a market strategy for your product using a known strategy as a model.
Dress a doll in national costume.
Paint a mural using the same materials.
Write a textbook about… for others.




Useful Verbs

Sample Question Stems

Potential activities and products
Which events could have happened…?
I … happened, what might the ending have been?
How was this similar to…?
What was the underlying theme of…?
What do you see as other possible outcomes?
Why did … changes occur?
Can you compare your … with that presented in…?
Can you explain what must have happened when…?
How is … similar to …?
What are some of the problems of…?
Can you distinguish between…?
What were some of the motives behind…?
What was the turning point in the game?
What was the problem with…?
Design a questionnaire to gather information.
Write a commercial to sell a new product.
Conduct an investigation to produce information to support a view.
Make a flow chart to show the critical stages.
Construct a graph to illustrate selected information.
Make a jigsaw puzzle.
Make a family tree showing relationships.
Put on a play about the study area.
Write a biography of the study person.
Prepare a report about the area of study.
Arrange a party. Make all the arrangements and record the steps needed.
Review a work of art in terms of form, colour and texture.




Useful Verbs

Sample Question Stems

Potential activities and products
Can you design a … to …?
Why not compose a song about…?
Can you see a possible solution to…?
If you had access to all resources how would you deal with…?
Why don't you devise your own way to deal with…?
What would happen if…?
How many ways can you…?
Can you create new and unusual uses for…?
Can you write a new recipe for a tasty dish?
can you develop a proposal which would…
Invent a machine to do a specific task.
Design a building to house your study.
Create a new product. Give it a name and plan a marketing campaign.
Write about your feelings in relation to…
Write a TV show, play, puppet show, role play, song or pantomime about…?
Design a record, book, or magazine cover for…?
Make up a new language code and write material suing it.
Sell an idea.
Devise a way to…
Compose a rhythm or put new words to a known melody.




Useful Verbs

Sample Question Stems

Potential activities and products
Is there a better solution to…
Judge the value of…
Can you defend your position about…?
Do you think … is a good or a bad thing?
How would you have handled…?
What changes to … would you recommend?
Do you believe?
Are you a … person?
How would you feel if…?
How effective are…?
What do you think about…?
Prepare a list of criteria to judge a … show. Indicate priority and ratings.
Conduct a debate about an issue of special interest.
Make a booklet about 5 rules you see as important. Convince others.
Form a panel to discuss views, eg “Learning at School.”
Write a letter to … advising on changes needed at…
Write a half yearly report.
Prepare a case to present your view about…


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