I recently facilitated curriculum planning with a group of middle school science teachers. We used several resources for this planning including their state’s standards, NGSS, district core beliefs, Bloom’s Taxonomy, and others. I have spent the last couple of weeks thinking deeply about where the work my partner, Marcy, and I do at Solving Fun falls within the framework. We have discussed (many times) how creative and critical thinking are necessary skills that can (and should) be taught. Since we co-founded Solving Fun, we have talked about creating puzzles and games that are challenging, yet accessible. We had not, though, directly talked about Bloom’s. That has now changed.
The original framework for Bloom’s Taxonomy was created to categorize educational goals in 1956. A lot has changed in the world since then, and there have been a couple of updates from the original model. What hasn’t changed is the importance of learning and organizing that learning to ensure depth of understanding and ability to create meaning.
Bloom's Taxonomy Framework (Vanderbuilt University Center for Teaching)
Marcy and I started our conversation by looking at the traditional format from a few different groups and building aligned understanding by reading a couple of articles. After a lot of processing and brainstorming, we discussed our place within that framework. Solving Fun’s goal has always been to engage children in learning beyond the ordinary. We believe engagement comes from joyful challenges. Like Bloom’s itself, we wanted to make this work as deep as possible, so we then brainstormed how to make the framework our own. This brainstorming was tricky and included several iterations before we could decide on one conceptual design that reflects our work. The new format we came up with shows the original Bloom’s levels (center), the verbs describing each level (right), and the level for some of the puzzles we design (left). Sample images of our puzzles are flowing out of the top. Marcy and I chose to use test tubes to model the levels. Once those test tubes are filled, students have acquired deep understanding so that they can think with more complexity and in more abstract ways.
Solving Fun’s Concept of Bloom’s Taxonomy
Though we created this document for ourselves, we share it with the hope educators will use this variation of Bloom’s Taxonomy to reflect on how they teach creative thinking through puzzles so that students learn to think with complexity and abstraction.