Bloom’s Taxonomy: Critical Thinking Skills for Kids

Updated: April, 2019

We all want our children to use necessary critical thinking skills. Thanks to Bloom’s Taxonomy, parents can help develop and strengthen their child’s thinking skills at home. Unfortunately, teachers and parents are more likely to ask children questions at the Remembering level which is the lowest level of thinking. This includes questions like: who, what, where, when and why. These types of questions only require children to use memorization in order to respond.

Bloom’s Taxonomy is named after Benjamin Bloom, a psychologist who in 1956 developed the classification of questioning according to six levels of higher level thinking. Bloom’s Taxonomy was revised in 2001. Most if not all teachers are taught to use Bloom’s Taxonomy in preparing lesson objectives for their students. However, most parents have not been taught how to use Bloom’s Taxonomy in talking to their children. If it is good for teachers, it is surely good for parents.

When children are moved beyond Bloom’s lowest level, Remembering to the next level of Understanding, they are answering questions which ask them to organize previous information, such as: comparing, interpreting the meaning, or organizing the information. Therefore, children are basically just retelling information in their own words, which is not helping develop critical thinking skills.

As parents, we want to encourage our children to think for themselves and to avoid peer pressure and fad thinking. We want them to have the skills necessary to listen, analyze and interpret the information that will be a constant part of their lives. Memory and understanding are part of this process, but to succeed in further processing this flow of knowledge requires higher level techniques.

Here are some examples of how to use Bloom’s Taxonomy with your child:

Most questions asked of children fall in either the Remembering or Understanding level. I encourage parents to move to a higher order in the taxonomy when questioning their child, which are Bloom’s next four levels. These include:

Applying: Ask your child how they would solve a given real-life problem. Ask why they think something is significant. Ask your child to continue a story or predict what would happen in a given situation. Encourage your child to make a diorama or model of what they learned on a given topic.

Analyzing: Ask your child to identify motives or causes from real-life stories. Encourage them to conduct an interview or survey. Have your child make a flow chart, family tree or role play a real-life situation.

Evaluating: Ask your child to form and defend an opinion on a subject. Kids, especially teens are pretty good at this one. Example: encourage your child to write a letter to an editor or evaluate a character’s actions in a story.

Creating: Ask your child to put together several bits of old information to form a new idea. Such as, ask them to create, design or invent a new item, proposal or plan. This requires a bit of creativity and the ability to think in the abstract.

Teachers state that with the big push of state testing and the pressure to teach to the test, it is becoming increasingly difficult for them to be able to take their time and teach at a higher level. As a parent you can help your child to use critical thinking skills and work on exercising their mind so that they will be a high level thinker.

There are many sites which offer charts of Bloom’s Taxonomy with examples of the various levels of questioning. One chart I like is:

 I recommend parents print this or a similar chart and cut it so you are left with Analyzing on down to Creating. Then tape this chart to your refrigerator or desk to remind yourself of good questioning techniques to use with your child.

Or for just a few dollars, you can purchase this convenient flip chart from Amazon, Quick Flip Questions for the Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy. Great for teachers, parents, and students. Learn how to ask questions, lead discussions, and plan lessons geared to each level of critical thinking. This hand-held flip chart helps improve thinking skills at any age.

After asking several higher level Bloom’s Taxonomy questions, during various conversations, you will get a feel of your child’s ability to think critically. Be patient and give your child extra think time to respond because if your child is not used to higher level questioning or using their brain for this type of thinking, it may take some time for them to process and be able to respond. With practice, higher level questioning will become easier for you and your child.

See Also: How to Test for Creativity in Children

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23 Responses to Bloom’s Taxonomy: Critical Thinking Skills for Kids

  1. Koi Tirima says:

    Great site and useful information. i have used my knowledge on Bloom’s taxonomy, personality types (“Nurture by Nature” a book – sorry can’t remember the author’s name), and the universal Intellectual characteristics (critical thinking foundation. org) to help my children (12 & 8)develope great critical thinking skills. My only challenge, is i wish their teahers knew these things too!!! Their teachers are not preapred to have critical thinking children in their classrooms!! PS I recently returned to Kenya, East Africa after living in Western US for 16 years!

    • sgarland says:

      I hear Kenya is beautiful. Best of luck to your children. Exquisite Minds has a collection of the best sites I have found for teachers, so maybe your teachers in Kenya will be open to checking them out.
      Thank you for the comments!

  2. Ana Neira says:

    Exellent page. It helps me to develope critical thinking in my little students. It allows me to build better evaluation processes.

    • Anonymous says:

      How or what type of activities can you use for young students with autism? They are vocal but with a limited vocabulary.

      • sgarland says:

        I have witnessed some autistic students doing quite well visual analogies for increasing critical thinking skills. Teacher/Education stores sell these books.

  3. Eman says:

    thank you very much.. what an amazing page.. and i like the chart too:)

  4. Senka Borovac Zekan says:

    I will try this with my students:)

  5. Pingback: Bloom’s Taxonomy: Critical Thinking Skills for Kids | E-Learning and Online Teaching Today

  6. debbie says:

    Could you offer any suggestions for computer programs or websites which require children to use higher level thinking skills. Thank you

  7. POONAM KURANI says:

    Here in India, Blooms Taxanomy is just a chapter in the Teacher Training Program, not a wee bit of effort is made in the best of best schools to use it. I am shouldering the responsibility of sharing this with more parents. I am a homeschooling mom and hence more connected with parents around me. I am having difficulty planning an interactive and enriching training program for parents. Is there some one in INDIA u wld know as expert on this or any website that u may recommend for me to put a trainng prog in place for parents.

  8. sgarland says:

    Unfortunately, I do not have any connections in India, however, hopefully this website of Exquisite Minds offers some useful resources. I also recommend Googling “questioning in the classroom” or “using questioning in teaching”. Questioning students/children correctly in order to maximize learning and higher level thinking is difficult and requires much practice before it becomes second nature for the teacher/parent.

  9. edith m, hurt says:

    Great information. How can I get my students to ask me higher level questions as part of my TN TEM Evaluation?

  10. Pingback: If Only The Best Birds Sang … » Blog Archive » 3. How You Can Help Your Child’s Higher Level Learning using Bloom’s Taxonomy

  11. Pingback: Episode 79 RFGP Teaching Kids to Be Critical...Thinkers - The Family Podcast Network

  12. You just have to exert extra effort to achieve that goal.
    Chuck Clayton is Author of: The Re-Discovery of Common Sense – A Guide to the Lost Art of Critical Thinking.
    Other opportunities for self-evaluation and developing critical thinking skills
    would be at the end of a semester, at the end of a unit of study, after taking a written test,
    or after a game or sport.

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  14. A says:

    Hello there, watch a video named animal school. You will see use of differentiation.
    It has nothing to do with India or other country. This is just a teaching strategy.

  15. Mabvuto Ng'ona says:

    hi, my school here in Zambia has tasked me to come up with a programme for The Gifted and Talented in Secondary school- ages 11-16, I am
    looking for ideas beyond Bloom’s Taxonomy; currently we have Critical Thinking as a subject offered to A level students. Any thoughts on activities beyond the classroom for G & T

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  17. Pingback: #21 - Help Your Child’s Brain Bloom - The Pelican Family Series

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  19. Donna Gaynor says:

    Excellent article. I was a teacher of the talented and gifted for grades K-12 for many years. However, I just recently started using the questioning with my grandkids. (never too early start). Thank you for getting posting on this important subject.

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