Question Stems for Each Level of Bloom's Taxonomy

Elementary students watching teacher with digital tablet
Hero Images/Getty Images

What is the progression of steps for learning?

That was the question answered in 1956 by American educational psychologist Benjamin Samuel Bloom in Taxonomy of Educational Objectives: The Classification of Educational Goals. Bloom devised a way to categorize reasoning skills based on the amount of critical thinking and reasoning involved.

With Bloom's Taxonomy, there are six levels of skills ranked in order from the most basic to the most complex. Each level of skill is associated with a verb as learning is an action. As a teacher, you should ensure that the questions you ask both in class and on written assignments and tests are pulled from all levels of the taxonomy pyramid.

Objective assessments (multiple choice, matching, fill in the blank) tend to focus only on the two lowest levels of Bloom's Taxonomy: knowledge and comprehension. Subjective assessments (essay responses, experiments, portfolios, performances) tend to measure the higher levels of Bloom's Taxonomy: analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.

To incorporate Bloom's Taxonomy into lessons, present different levels beginning with the most basic at the beginning of a unit. Once you reach the end of a unit, the lessons should incorporate the highest levels of Bloom's Taxonomy.

01
of 06

Knowledge Verbs and Question Stems

New Bloom's Taxomony
Andrea Hernandez/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

The Knowledge level forms the base of the Bloom's Taxonomy pyramid. Because it is of the lowest complexity, many of the verbs in this section are in the form of questions. You can use this level of questioning to ensure that the students learned specific information from the lesson.

  • What do you remember about _____?
  • How would you define_____?
  • How would you identify _____?
  • How would you recognize _____?

Define
Define mercantilism.

Who
Who was the author of Billy Budd?

What
What is the capital of England?

Name
Name the inventor of the telephone.

List
List the 13 original colonies.

Label
Label the capitals on this map of the United States.

Locate
Locate the glossary in your textbook.

Match
Match the following inventors with their inventions.

Select
Select the correct author of War and Peace from the following list.

Underline
Underline the noun.

02
of 06

Comprehension Verbs and Question Stems

At the Comprehension level, you want students to show that they can go beyond basic recall by understanding what the facts mean. The verbs at this level should allow you to see if your students understand the main idea and are able to interpret or summarize the ideas in their own words.

  • How would you generalize_____?
  • How would you express _____?
  • What can you infer from _____?
  • What did you observe_____?

Explain
Explain the law of inertia using an example from an amusement park.

Interpret
Interpret the information found in this pie chart.

Outline
Outline the main arguments for and against year-round education.

Discuss
Discuss what it means to use context to determine the meaning of a word.

Translate
Translate this passage into English.

Restate
Restate the steps for a bill to become a law in your own words.

Describe
Describe what is happening in this Civil War picture.

Identify
Identify the correct method for disposing of recyclable trash.

Which
Which statements support implementing school uniforms?

Summarize
Summarize the first chapter of To Kill a Mockingbird.

03
of 06

Application Verbs and Question Stems

At the Application level, students must show that they can apply the information they have learned. Students can demonstrate their grasp of the material at the Application level by solving problems and creating projects.

  • How would you demonstrate ____?
  • How would you present ____?
  • How would you change ____?
  • How would you modify ____?

Solve
Using the information you have learned about mixed numbers, solve the following questions.

Use
Use Newton's Laws of Motion to explain how a model rocket works.

Predict
Predict whether items float better in fresh water or salt water.

Construct
Using the information you have learned about aerodynamics, construct a paper airplane that minimizes drag.

Perform
Create and perform a skit that dramatizes an event from the civil rights era.

Demonstrate
Demonstrate how changing the location of the fulcrum affects a tabletop lever.

Classify
Classify each observed mineral based on the criteria learned in class.

Apply
Apply the rule of 70 to determine how quickly $1,000 would double if earning 5 percent interest.

04
of 06

Analysis Verbs and Question Stems

The fourth level of Bloom's Taxonomy is Analysis. Here students find patterns in what they learn. Students move beyond simply understanding and applying knowledge. At the Analysis level, they begin to take a more active role in their own learning.

  • How can you sort the parts _____?
  • What can you infer_____?
  • What ideas validate _____?
  • How would you explain _____?

What?
What is the function of the liver in the body?

What is the main idea of the story "The Tell-Tale Heart"?

What assumptions do we have to make when discussing Einstein's Theory of Relativity?

Analyze
Analyze President Lincoln's motives for delivering the Gettysburg Address.

Identify
Identify any biases that might exist when reading an autobiography.

Examine
Examine the results of your experiment and record your conclusions.

Investigate
Investigate the propaganda techniques used in each of the following advertisements.

05
of 06

Synthesis Verbs and Question Stems

At the synthesis level, students move beyond relying on previously learned information and analyzing items that the teacher has given them. Instead, they create new products, ideas, and theories.

  • What alternative would you suggest for ___?
  • What changes would you make to revise___? 
  • How would you generate a plan to ___? 
  • What could you invent___?  

Create
Create a haiku about a desert animal.

Invent
Invent a new board game about Industrial Revolution inventors.

Compose
Compose a new piece of music that includes chords in the key of C major.

Propose
Propose an alternative way to get students to clean up after themselves in the lunchroom.

Plan
Plan an alternative meal to serve vegetarians during Thanksgiving.

Design
Design a campaign to help stop teenage smoking.

Formulate
Formulate a bill that you would like to see passed in Congress.

Develop
Develop an idea for a science fair project that focuses on the effects of pollution on plant life.

06
of 06

Evaluation Verbs and Question Stems

Evaluation means that students make judgments based on the information they have learned as well as their own insights. This is often the most challenging question to create, particularly for end-of-unit exams.

  • What criteria would you use to assess _____?
  • What data were used to evaluate _____?
  • How could you verify _____?
  • What information would you use to prioritize _____?

Evaluate
Evaluate the accuracy of the movie The Patriot.

Find
Find the errors in the following math problem.

Select
Select the most appropriate action that you should take against a school bully. Justify your answer.

Decide
Decide on a meal plan for the next week that includes all the required servings according to the Food Guide Pyramid.

Justify
Are the arts an important part of a school's curriculum? Justify your answer.

Debate
Debate the pros and cons of charter schools.

Judge
Judge the importance of students reading a play by Shakespeare while in high school.

Sources

  • Mcdaniel, Rhett. “Bloom's Taxonomy.” Vanderbilt University, Vanderbilt University, 13 Aug. 2018, cft.vanderbilt.edu/guides-sub-pages/blooms-taxonomy/.