Here is one of five lessons shared in Appendix B of The Genius Hour Guidebook: Fostering Passion, Wonder and Inquiry. By Denise Krebs & Gallit Zvi (Routledge/Eye on Education, 2016)
The Genius Hour Guidebook
Lesson Plan 5
Using Bloom’s Taxonomy to Ask Deeper Questions
◆ I will understand Bloom’s taxonomy and the six levels of questions.
◆ I will be able to ask questions for each of the six levels of questions.
Students will have example questions for each of the six levels on Bloom’s taxonomy and will have recorded these questions onto chart paper.
◆ Several picture books.
◆ Chart paper on which students can record their questions.
◆ Depending on the age of the students, this lesson will take approximately 60 minutes.
◆ We would teach the previous lesson on questioning first and then do this as a Part B to that introductory lesson on questioning.
◆ Accessing prior knowledge: Ask students what they recall about thick vs thin questions. (If you need to introduce the idea, see the Non Google-able Question explanation below and this Smore resource.)
◆ Explain that there are actually several different kinds of thick and thin questions and that a lot of people use something called Bloom’s taxonomy to categorize questions.
What’s a Non Google-able Question?
Ewan McIntosh suggests a simple activity to help students discuss the difference between Google-able and non Google-able questions (or “thin & thick” questions). Students first brainstorm questions from their books and classroom curriculum (or questions of interest to them for Genius Hour projects). Then they separate the questions into two headings: Google-able and non Google-able. Teachers can help students figure out features of non Google-able questions in order to generate more. Google-able questions can be easily researched by students and reported back to the class, with students as teachers. The non Google-able questions can become the rich basis for Genius Hour projects. (from The Genius Hour Guidebook, Chapter 2)
◆ Show an overhead or screenshot of the Bloom’s taxonomy pyramid and explain that there are six levels: Remember, Understand, Apply, Analyze, Evaluate and Create. Take a few minutes to go through them all and explain them to the class.
(Doing a quick Google search of Benjamin Bloom (creator of Bloom’s taxonomy) or simply Bloom’s taxonomy should bring you to a bunch of great visuals that you could show the class. We also like the ones that give links to question starters. Again, just type in Bloom’s taxonomy questions and you will get some great examples to use. This page at TeachThought shares several collections.)
◆ Model the different types of questions by connecting to something you are doing in social studies or science and creating questions for each level. (We could go through some, but we think it is much more beneficial to use this as an opportunity for cross-curricular connecting and so we’ll leave it to you to pick how to do this. If you are studying plants in science, use plants as an example; if you are learning about Ancient Rome in social studies, then perhaps use that. It is up to you!)
◆Put students into groups of four and ask each group to pick a picture book. (You could line up a bunch of options on the ledge of the board at the front, or put a few choices onto a side table.)
◆Once they have picked a book, the students need to read the picture book together and then, using the picture book as the content, come up with a good example of a question for each of the six categories.
◆Using chart paper, record each question and what level of Bloom’s taxonomy it corresponds to. (Give them a few different colors and let them be creative in how they chose to visually represent this.)
◆Have students display their chart paper along with the picture book that they used and then do a Gallery Walk as a class so that students have a chance to see the work of their peers. Variation: You could also have students do a quick share to the whole class, or they could pair up with another group and share with each other.
◆Closure: Let students know that all of the six levels are important depending on what you are doing, but that for Genius Hour you are focused on meatier questions. Ask students which levels they think would work best for a Genius Hour project. Discuss as a class. Let them know that soon you will be going back to the passion/wonder board so they can pick their first Genius Hour inquiry question.
◆ Leave them excited to do more!
Art: Chris Davis, Powerful Learning Practice LLC. The “flipped” Bloom’s pyramid originally appeared on this 2012 post by Canadian teacher Shelley Wright. See what you think!
Denise Krebs (@mrsdkrebs) and Gallit Zvi (@gallit_z) are co-moderators of the Twitter chat group #geniushour and co-authors of The Genius Hour Guidebook. After teaching in American K-8 schools for many years, Denise is now teaching English to second grade geniuses in a bilingual Arabic–English school in Bahrain.
Denise currently works in Bahrain, teaching English to elementary-aged students in a bilingual Arabic–English school. Gallit is a Faculty Associate in Professional Development Programs at Simon Fraser University as well as a middle grades public school teacher in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada.