Bloom Lesson Starters

From pre-school through higher education, teaching methods lend themselves to the enhancement of content areas. Yet, these techniques should be weighed for their unique strengths and weaknesses as they contribute to student understanding as well as how they relate to the goals and objectives of the course. Their implementation in education should be carefully evaluated when determining how to best meet the needs of each student. The connection of these techniques to content and student learning styles characterizes a good educator. Bloom Lesson Starters

Strengths of Bloom Lesson Starters:

  • development of critical thinking skills (Bloom et al, 1956).
  • builds on each level (Bloom et al, 1956).
  • gain a better perspective on the behaviors to be emphasized in instructional planning (Bloom et al, 1956).
  • effective learning (Barell, 1995).
  • engaged learners (Barell, 1995).
  • expands the self-efficacy of individuals (Barell, 1995).
  • propels students to operate at higher critical thinking levels (Barell, 1995).
  • associated with cognitive, affective and psychomotor skills (Clark, 2013).
  • acquires new skills, knowledge, and/or attitudes (Clark, 2013).
  • encourages active teaching (Schmidt, 2009).
  • increased graduation rates (Schmidt, 2009).
  • increased motivation (Schmidt, 2009).
  • greater academic prowess (Schmidt, 2009).
  • increased depth in comprehension of topics (Schmidt, 2009).
  • ability to apply knowledge to problem solving (Schmidt, 2009).

Weaknesses of Bloom Lesson Starters:

Teaching Resources
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  • Students do not need to move through these stages sequentially which is a common misconception (Bloom et al, 1956).
  • little consensus about what seemingly self-evident defined terms like “analysis,” or “evaluation” mean (Intel, 2013).
  • Educators can spend too much time attempting to classify questions and activities (Intel, 2013).
  • worth of learning opportunities diminished (Intel, 2013).

Value of Bloom Lesson Starters:

  • The stages progress beginning with knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis and ending with evaluation (Bloom et al, 1956).
  • Through this method, students will develop an insight into themselves as they develop learning strategies, set learning goals, gauge their progress and even assess the results (Barell, 1995).
  • The result of the development of lifelong learning is possible through a continual application and hands on experience associated within the learning experiences (Clark, 2013).
  • This classification is merely to help educators “gain a better perspective on the behaviors to be emphasized in instructional planning” (Moore, 2012, p. 177).
  • Those teachers who keep a list of question prompts relating to the various levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy undoubtedly do a better job of encouraging higher-order thinking in their students than those who have no such tool (Intel, 2013).

Application of Bloom Lesson Starters:

This method easily is integrated into every lesson planning session and teaching moment. It can be used as a quick reference to help educators keep attention on different learning personalities while ensuring that students reach higher critical thinking skills.


Question Starters Potential Activities
Level I: Knowledge (recall)

1.What is the definition for…?

2.What happened after…?

3.Recall the facts.

4.What were the characteristics of…?

5.Which is true or false?

6.How many…?

7.Who was the…?

8.Tell in your own words.

Level I: Knowledge (recall)

1.Describe the…

2.Make a time line of events.

3.Make a facts chart.

4.Write a list of…steps in…fact…about…

5.List all the people in the story.

6.Make a chart showing…

7.Make an acrostic.

8.Recite a poem.

Level II: Comprehension

1.Why are these ideas similar?

2.In your own words retell the story of…

3.What do you think could happen?

4.How are these ideas different?

5.Explain what happened after.

6.What are some examples?

7.Can you provide a definition of…?

8.Who was the key character?

Level II: Comprehension

1.Cut out or draw pictures to show an event.

2.Illustrate what you think the main idea was.

3.Make a cartoon strip showing the sequence of…

4.Write a perform a play based on the…

5.Compare this ___ with ____.

6.Construct a model of…

7.Write a news report.

8.Prepare a flowchart to show the sequence.

Level III: Application (applying without understanding is not effective)

1.What is another instance of…?

2.Demonstrate the way to…

3.Which one is most like…?

4.What questions would you ask?

5.Which factors would you change?

6.Could this have happened in…? Why or why not?

7.How would you organize these ideas?

Level III: Application (applying without understanding is not effective)

1.Construct a model to demonstrate using it.

2.Make a display to illustrate one event.

3.Make a collection about…

4.Design a relief map to include relevant information about an event.

5.Scan a collection of photographs to illustrate a particular aspect of the study.

6.Create a mural to depict…

Level IV: Analysis

1.What are the component parts of…?

2.What steps are important in the process of…?


4.What other conclusions can you reach about…that have not been mentioned?

5.The difference between the fact and the hypothesis is…

6.The solution would be to…

7.What is the relationship between…and…?

Level IV: Analysis

1.Design a questionnaire about…

2.Conduct an investigation to produce…

3.Make a flow chart to show…

4.Construct a graph to show…

5.Put on a play about…

6.Review…in terms of identified criteria.

7.Prepare a report about the area of study.

Level V: Synthesis

1.Can you design a…?

2.Why not compose a song about…?

3.Why don’t you devise your own way to…?

4.Can you create new and unusual uses for…?

5.How would you deal with…?

6.Invent a scheme that would…

Level V: Synthesis

1.Create a model that shows your new ideas.

2.Devise an original plan or experiment for…

3.Finish the incomplete…

4.Make a hypothesis about…

5.Change… so that it will…

6.Propose a method for…

7.Prescribe a way to…

8.Give the book a new title.

Level VI: Evaluation

1.In your opinion…

2.Appraise the chances for…

3.Grade or rank the…

4.What do you think should be the outcome?

5.What solution do you favor and why?

6.Which systems are best? Worst?

7.Rate the relative value of these ideas to…

8.Which is the better bargain?

Level VI: Evaluation

1.Prepare a list of criteria you would use to judge a … Indicate a priority ratings you would give.

2.Conduct a debate about an issue.

3.Prepare an annotated bibliography…

4.Form a discussion panel on the topic of…

5.Prepare a case to present your opinions about…

6.List some common assumptions about… Rationalize your reactions.

Figure 1: Question starters and classroom activities differentiated according to Bloom’s Taxonomy by Gregory, G. (2008). Differentiated instructional strategies in practice: training, implementation, and supervision (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press. p. 97-99.


Barell, J. (1995). Critical issue: working toward student self-direction and personal efficacy as educational goals. Retrieved from:

Bloom, B. S., Englehart, M. B., Furst, E. J., Hill, W. J., & Krathwohl, D. R. (Eds.). (1956). Taxonony of educational objectives: The classification of educational goals. Handbook 1: Cognitive domain. New York: McKay.

Clark, D. (2013). Bloom’s taxonomy of learning domains. Retrieved from

Gregory, G. (2008). Differentiated instructional strategies in practice: training, implementation, and supervision (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Gregory, G. & Chapman, C. (2007). Differentiated instructional strategies: One size doesn’t fit all. (2nd edition). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Product Details
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Intel. (2013). Bloom’s taxonomy: A new look at an old standby.  Retrieved from…/Bloom.pdf

Moore, K. D. (2012). Effective instructional strategies: From theory to practice (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA:Sage Publications.

Schmidt, H. (2009). Impact of problem based, active learning. Medical Education, (43)3, 211-218.

By Tracy Atkinson

Tracy Atkinson, mother of six, lives in the Midwest with her husband. She is a teacher, having taught elementary school to higher education, holding degrees in elementary education and a master’s in higher education. Her passion is researching, studying and investigating the attributes related to self-directed learners. She has published several titles, including Calais: The Annals of the Hidden, Lemosa: The Annals of the Hidden, Book Two, Rachel’s 8 and Securing Your Tent. She is currently working on a non-fiction text exploring the attributes of self-directed learners: The Five Characteristics of Self-directed Learners.


Tracy Harrington-Atkinson

Tracy Harrington-Atkinson, mother of six, lives in the mid-west with her husband. She loved storytelling and sharing her stories with her children. As they grew, she started writing her stories down for them. She is a teacher, having taught from elementary school to higher education, holding degrees in elementary education, masters in higher education and continued on to a PhD in curriculum design. Her husband, Kerry and Tracy breed miniature dachshunds and love to spend time with their growing family. She has published several books including Calais: The Annals of the Hidden, Rachel's 8 and Securing Your Tent.

3 thoughts on “Bloom Lesson Starters

  • October 16, 2015 at 8:49 am

    This is great! I have a high schooler that I think will benefit from these techniques when it comes to studying. Thanks.

    • October 16, 2015 at 9:10 am

      I have two high schoolers and use these with them!

  • October 16, 2015 at 9:47 am

    Great post. Bloom still provides us with the best lesson plan for education

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