That Bloomin' Higher Order Thinking


In recent years, there has been a focus on having students not just be passive receptacles of knowledge who can regurgitate facts, but students who can use the information they have been given in order to think critically and problem-solve. Although higher order thinking and critical thinking sound like today's new educational buzz words, educators have long been concerned about students and their ability to internalize and utilize the information they receive in meaningful ways. One such person, introduced below, strove to improve the quality of the educational experience for students.

Benjamin Samuel Bloom (February 21, 1913 – September 13, 1999) was an American educational psychologist who made contributions to the classification of educational objectives and to the theory of mastery learning.  In 1956, Bloom edited the first volume of Taxonomy of educational objectives: the classification of educational goals, which outlined a classification of learning objectives that has come to be known as Bloom's Taxonomy and remains a foundational and essential element within the educational community. 

Bloom developed a "taxonomy of educational objectives" which classified the different learning objectives and skills that educators set for students. Bloom divided educational objectives into three "domains:" Affective, Psychomotor, and Cognitive. It is hierarchical, like other taxonomies, meaning that learning at the higher levels is dependent on having attained prerequisite knowledge and skills at lower levels. Bloom intended that the Taxonomy motivate educators to focus on all three domains, creating a more holistic form of education.


Your task for this Webquest is to research Bloom's Taxonomy with the goal that you will understand and use higher order thinking skills (HOTS) as a teacher when designing your future lessons. Incorporating HOTS is integral to writing your lesson objectives (what you want students to do/learn in a lesson), creating questions for a lesson, selecting learning activities, designing assessments and analyzing and applying content standards. 

Most content standards and core academic classes mainly feature cognitive domain objectives;  Benjamin Bloom focused on getting educators to be more holistic in their approach, incorporating all three domains when appropriate. 



When people use the phrase "Bloom's Taxonomy" they are usually referring to the cognitive domain as it is most prevalent; however, the taxonomy actually includes three domains.


1. Scan this website for an overview:

2. After visiting the next few sites, create a graphic organizer for each of the three domains: affective, psychomotor, and cognitive.  You may copy one that you see in your reading or create your own. These organizers will serve as your "notes" and a reference for you later as you will use the taxonomy quite often. 

* In the Evaluation tab of this Webquest, you will be asked to do something additional for each level of the three domains. Therefore, you might want to leave some room or create an additional column for use at that time.  


Affective Domain:

Read/ Scan:



Link in case the video won't play:


Psychomotor Domain:





Link in case the video won't play:

*There are three accepted versions of the Psychomotor Domain (Simpson, Harrow, Dave) ;however, Dave (1970) is the one most widely used and is the one featured in the video. 


Cognitive Domain: 





Link in case the video won't play: 


For The Cognitive Domain, please create your graphic based on the Revised Bloom's Taxonomy (RBT). 


Make sure you have created a graphic organizer that explains each domain. 




For your evaluation, you will do three things: 

First Item

First, for each of the taxonomies, give an example that a teacher might use during a lesson for each level of the three domains. 


An example of activities for each level the Cognitive Domain:



The students will memorize multiplication tables.


Using their prior knowledge of addition, the students will demonstrate and explain with objects their conceptual understanding of  multiplication.



The students will solve simple word problems using multiplication. (If there are 12 students in a class and they each need 5 pieces of paper, how much paper does the whole class need?)



The students will discuss with their group how multiplication might be used to solve the given problem. (How many containers of cookies does the class need for a party?- students will have to discuss things depends on the number of students, how much they eat, and how many cookies are in a container, in addition to the formula) 



Students will evaluate several scenarios in which multiplication and addition have been used and discuss the feasibility of the solution and the accuracy of the formula/answer.



The students will share with a partner their own situation in which they would use multiplication to solve a problem or complete a task.

* you can use your existing graphic organizers that you created for your notes to add an activity for each level if you have room. 

The video demonstrating the psychomotor domain is a good example to use for reference for that domain.


Keep in mind that both examples demonstrate the hierarchy and building blocks approach- students must understand multiplication before they move up the levels and create their own problem.

Since this is a hierarchy, make sure you stay with one topic and build from low to high. However, you may switch topics for the different domains- for example: Affective-Impressionist painting; Cognitive- multiplication; Psychomotor- learning a routine.

Next Step

Now, go back to each example and underline the verb (verb-like words) that is/are associated with what you are asking the student to do. The example above shows these words in bold.

While these verbs don't necessarily correspond with just one level (it's all about the total of what you are asking) they do help in allowing us to understand what we are asking students to do and to select cognitively/developmentally appropriate tasks.  Additionally, it is our duty as educators to push students to higher levels.  Knowing the level and the verbs associated with those levels will assist you in creating lesson objectives, learning activities, lesson questions, and assessments that get students moving towards higher order thinking.  In a lesson, you should have a range of levels- not just staying at Remembering, Mimicking, etc.  

Visit this website, scan the chart, and keep this site open as reference for the next activity:


Second Item

The second thing you will do is create a Flip Book for the Cognitive Domain as this is the domain that is most often used and is integral in executing any lesson and implementing our content standards. As the case with all educational theory, there have been updates, improvements, criticisms, different labels, different perspectives, alternate theories; however, Bloom's Taxonomy is a "Must Know" for educators.  At the very least it will give you a basic conceptual understanding that you can build upon and do further research for your own professional development. 

1. Gather three pieces of brightly colored paper and one or two markers that will be visible on the paper from the supplies provided by your instructor.

2. Fold the papers "hamburger" style but not evenly in the middle. Go to this link for a visual reference or see the example provided in class.


3. Staple along the top three times evenly spaced apart.

4. Label each of the tabs beginning with the lowest level and ascending to the highest (not all examples are designed this way, but it reinforces the hierarchical nature of the taxonomy).  Include a short explanation for each level. Remember to use RBT. 

5. Write 10-20 verbs for each level that are associated with cognitive tasks at that level.  Use the website listed above (and copied again below) as a reference: 

6. Questions are an integral part of any lesson. They are used to introduce topics, access prior knowledge, assess and get students thinking critically about topics. However, oral questions that target the higher cognitive levels are not always easy to formulate on the spot. When planning a lesson, teachers must create questions that target both lower and higher levels for the purposes listed above. Therefore, having questions starters or stems, will help you achieve this goal.  Write 5 question stems for each corresponding level.  Visit this site for a reference:

Third Item

Be prepared to share what you have completed in this lesson.  

You will receive instructions from your professor for the third item when everyone is finished completing the flip book. You may take a break at this time if you finish before the others. 



At this point, you should have a fairly good understanding of Bloom's Taxonomy and be familiar with the three domains Affective, Psychomotor, and Cognitive.

You should be able to explain in detail the Cognitive Domain and name verbs that are associated with each of the levels.

You should also have the information that you need in order to create questions for your students that target each of the Cognitive Domain levels.


Teacher Page

Hi, I'm Dr. McIntyre and I am an Associate Professor or Curriculum and Learning in the West College of Education at Midwestern State University.  I have been an educator for over 20 years and I currently teach Educational Psychology and English methods as well as numerous graduate level courses in Curriculum.