Bloom’s Taxonomy for Preschoolers

Bike repairWe’re working on a new website at Bellevue Discovery and the all-volunteer website team asked me to write up some of our children’s projects from the past year.  I’ve been meaning to document our Machines Project – I have a pile of photos, teachers’ reflections and work samples on my desk at home, waiting for me to feel creative.

I was thinking about Bloom’s Taxonomy, that hierarchy of learning that moves from simple to complex.  It’s usually illustrated with examples from high school curriculum.  Here’s my version:

Lemon wedgeBloom’s Taxonomy for Preschoolers, inspired by the Machines Project at Bellevue Discovery

Level 1, Knowledge:  Name a machine you have at home.  G’s response:  “It cleans floors.”

Level 2, Comprehension:  Is a dog a machine?  H‘s response:  “Of course not.  It’s alive.  Machines can’t be alive except in pretend.”

Level 3, Application:  Use treasures from our recycling bin to build a pretend machine.  D‘s description of his machine:  “My machine throws water at the volcano so the lava doesn’t come out.”

LightbulbLevel 4, Analysis:  Why doesn’t your pretend machine actually work?  R:  “It doesn’t have electricity.”  K:  “And the tape isn’t sticking all the way.”  A:  “The pink tape does the best I think.”  R:  “And there’s nothing inside it to make it work!”

Level 5, Synthesis:  What machine could you invent to help your parents at home?  B’s response:  “An umbilical cord for watering the plants.”

Level 6, Evaluation:  If your parent-helping machine were real, what would be good and what would be bad about having it in your home?  C’s evaluation of her Garbage Machine:  “The garbage goes down the inclined plane and drops into the garbage can.  But I’ll have to use it in my bedroom because the Garbage Machine’s really messy.”

Leah's machineWe tend to think of young children as concrete thinkers, not yet able to use symbols in place of real objects.  Theoretically children don’t move into symbolic thinking, or past the application level in Bloom’s Taxonomy, until age 10.  But I work with preschoolers who mix synthesis with their dinosaur play.  They might not analyze or evaluate on cue – they might be busy growling like dinosaurs – but over the course of a project like Machines I get to see children build relationships between ideas, think deeply, and create something new.

About rencedarfuller

I am the Head of School at a non-profit organization focused on early childhood gifted education. Our philosophy is constructivist, our curriculum revolves around creative problem-solving, and our families want their children to learn through discovery. I have my dream teaching job.
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