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NGSS Three dimensional learning

NGSS has three distinct components: 1. Disciplinary Core Ideas, 2. Cross Cutting Concepts, and 3. Science & Engineering Practices.

NGSS Logo

North Country 3D Science Cafe

NGSS Three Dimensional Learning

Teaching Channel NGSS 3 dimensional teaching

Three Dimensions of the Framework for K-12 Science Education Being Used to Develop the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

KnowAtom’s blog – Explore the 3 Dimensions

 

A Way to Think About Three-Dimensional Learning and NGSS

From Carolina Biologica Supply Company,, by Dee Dee Whitaker

The National Research Council (NRC) went to science and engineering practitioners and gathered information on how they “do” science and engineering. That information was organized and the resulting framework is the Next Generation Science Standards.

  • What scientists do is Dimension 1: Practices
  • Concepts applied to all domains of science is Dimension 2: Crosscutting Concepts
  • Big, important concepts for students to master is Dimension 3: Disciplinary Core Ideas

Each dimension is further refined into specific behaviors, concepts, and ideas. Below is a list of the three dimensions with an accompanying explanation and a brief rationale for each.

Phenomenon

Naturally occurring events. Use phenomena to generate interest and elicit questions.

Scientific and Engineering Practices

Practices: behaviors that scientists engage

Disciplinary Core Ideas

The broad, key ideas within a scientific discipline make up the core ideas. The core ideas are distributed among 4 domains:

  • Physical science
  • Life science
  • Earth and space science
  • Engineering, technology, and applications of science
Crosscutting Concepts

Applicable to all science disciplines, crosscutting concepts link the disciplines together.

  • Patterns
  • Cause and effect
  • Scale, proportion, and quantity
  • Systems and system models
  • Energy and matter: Flows, cycles, and conservation
  • Structure and function
  • Stability and change
Artifacts

Tangible evidence of demonstrated student learning. Artifacts need to be durable. A report, poster, project, and an audio recording of a presentation can all serve as artifacts.

Resources from New York City

New Visions for public schools – High School Science

New Visions for public schools – High School Biology – Designed to NGSS

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Physics teaching methods

www.physport.org Teaching Methods

Flipped classroom

The flipped classroom intentionally shifts instruction to a learner-centered model. Students take responsibility to learn the content at home, usually through video lessons prepared by the teacher or third parties, and readings from textbooks.  In-class lessons include activity learning, homework problems, using manipulatives, doing labs, presentations, project-based learning, skill development, etc.

An early example of this was called Peer Instruction by Harvard Professor Eric Mazur, in the early 1990s.

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Physlets (Physics apps, flash, JAVA, HTML5)

Any interactive computer simulations for teaching and learning physics, chemistry, math, and other sciences. They help make the visual and conceptual models of expert scientists accessible to students.

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PhET Interactive Simulations

PhET are modern, refined Physlets. A suite of research-based interactive computer simulations for teaching and learning physics, chemistry, math, and other sciences. They are animated, interactive, and game-like environments where students learn through exploration. They emphasize the connections between real-life phenomena and the underlying science, and help make the visual and conceptual models of expert scientists accessible to students.

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Teaching with Clickers/Classroom response systems

A classroom response system (sometimes called a personal response system, student response system, or audience response system) is a set of hardware and software that facilitates teaching activities such as the following.

  • A teacher poses a multiple-choice question via an overhead or computer projector.
  • Each student submits an answer to the question using a clicker.
  • Software collects the answers and produces a bar chart showing how many students chose each of the answer choices.
  • The teacher makes “on the fly” choices in response to the bar chart.

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Ranking Task Exercises in Physics

Conceptual exercises that challenges readers to make comparative judgments about a set of variations on a particular physical situation. Exercises encourage readers to formulate their own ideas about the behavior of a physical system, correct any misconceptions they may have, and build a better conceptual foundation of physics.

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Interactive Lecture Demonstrations (ILDs)

See Interactive Lecture Demonstrations, Active Learning in Introductory Physics, by David R. Sokoloff (Author), Ronald K. Thornton (Author)

Start with a scripted activity in a traditional lecture format. Because the activity causes students to confront their prior understanding of a core concept, students are ready to learn in a follow-up lecture. Interactive Lecture Demonstrations use three steps in which students:
Predict the outcome of the demonstration. Individually, and then with a partner, students explain to each other which of a set of possible outcomes is most likely to occur.
Experience the demonstration. Working in small groups, students conduct an experiment, take a survey, or work with data to determine whether their initial beliefs were confirmed (or not).
Reflect on the outcome. Students think about why they held their initial belief and in what ways the demonstration confirmed or contradicted this belief. After comparing these thoughts with other students, students individually prepare a written product on what was learned.
https://serc.carleton.edu/introgeo/demonstrations/index.html

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GIFs: Using short, step-by-step animations to help students visualize a complex process.

There are many scientific phenomenon traditionally taught with textbook and lecture. These have static diagrams, and for many students it is hard to visualize the process. As such, with GIFs specifically targeted to the idea or equation at hand, it becomes easier for students to grasp the essential ideas.

For instance, one can model an electric series circuit with two resistors with math, a circuit diagram, or a GIF. With the GIF we can see how the battery adds potential energy to the electrons in a circuit, while the electrons lose this potential energy as they go through any circuit element with resistance.

Rtotal = R1 + R2

V = I/R = I / Rtotal

 

https://www.stem.org.uk/news-and-views/opinions/using-gifs-classroom

http://blog.cdnsciencepub.com/science-communicators-get-your-gif-on/

http://blogs.nottingham.ac.uk/makingsciencepublic/2014/01/24/how-to-do-things-with-gifs/

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Cooperative Group Problem-solving – Students work in groups using structured problem-solving strategy. In this way they can solve complex, context-rich problems which could be difficult for them to solve individually. This was developed by the University of Minnesota Physics Education Research Group.

Students in introductory physics courses typically begin to solve a problem by plunging into the algebraic and numerical solution — they search for and manipulate equations, plugging numbers into the equations until they find a combination that yields an answer (e.g. the plug-and-chug strategy). They seldom use their conceptual knowledge of physics to qualitatively analyze the problem situation, nor do they systematically plan a solution before they begin numerical and algebraic manipulations of equations. When they arrive at an answer, they are usually satisfied — they rarely check to see if the answer makes sense.

To help students integrate the conceptual and procedural aspects of problem solving so they could become better problem solvers, we introduced a structured, five-step problem solving strategy. However, we immediately encountered the following dilemma:

If the problems are simple enough to be solved moderately well using their novice strategy, then students see no reason to abandon this strategy — even if the structured problem-solving strategy works as well or better.

If the problems are complex enough so the novice strategy clearly fails, then students are initially unsuccessful at using the structured problem-solving strategy, so they revert back to their novice strategy.

To solve this dilemma, we (1) designed complex problems that discourage the use of plug-and-chug strategies, and (2) introduced cooperative group problem solving. Cooperative group problem solving has several advantages:

  1. The structured problem-solving strategy seems too long and complex to most students. Cooperative-group problem solving gives students a chance to practice the strategy until it becomes more natural.
  2. Groups can solve more complex problems than individuals, so students see the advantage of a logical problem-solving strategy early in the course.
  3. Each individual can practice the planning and monitoring skills they need to become good individual problem solvers.
  4. Students get practice developing and using the language of physics — “talking physics”.
  5. In their discussion with each other, students must deal with and resolve their misconceptions.
  6. In subsequent, whole-class discussions of the problems, students are less intimidated because they are not answering as an individual, but as a group.

Of course, there are several disadvantages of cooperative-group problem solving. Initially, many students do not like working in cooperative groups. They do not like exposing their “ignorance” to other students. Moreover, they have been trained to be competitive and work individually, so they lack collaborative skills.

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Just-in-Time Teaching: Students answer questions online before class, promoting preparation for class and encouraging them to come to class with a “need to know.

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Context-Rich Problems: Students work in small groups on short, realistic scenarios, giving them a plausible motivation to solve problems.

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Open Source Physics Collection: Open source code libraries, tools, and compiled simulations.

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Tutorials in Introductory Physics: Guided-inquiry worksheets for small groups in recitation section of intro calculus-based physics. Instructors engage groups in Socratic dialogue.

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RealTime Physics: A series of introductory laboratory modules that use computer data acquisition tools to help students develop physics concepts and acquire lab skills.

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Modeling Instruction – Instruction organized around active student construction of conceptual and mathematical models in an interactive learning community. Students engage with simple scenarios to build, test and apply the handful of scientific models that represent the content core of physics.

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Force Concept Inventory – “The FCI is a test of conceputal understanding of Newtonian mechanics, developed from the late 1980s. It consists of 30 MCQ questions with 5 answer choices for each question and tests student understanding of conceptual understanding of velocity, acceleration and force. Many distracters in the test items embody commonsense beliefs about the nature of force and its effect on motion. ” Developed by Hestenes, Halloun, Wells, and Swackhamer (1985.) Sample question:

FCI Force Concept Inventory

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How to teach AP Physics

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ASU Modeling Instruction

modeling.asu.edu/R&E/Research.html

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Learning Standards masterlist

curriculum standards wordle

Interdisciplinary

Common Core Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, & Technical Subjects

Physics

2016 Massachusetts Science and Technology/Engineering Curriculum Framework

College Board Standards for College Success: Science

2006 Massachusetts Science and Technology/Engineering Curriculum Framework

Benchmarks for Science Literacy, AAAS

Biology and health

See Physics, above, and Next Generation Science Standards

Teaching About Evolution and the Nature of Science, National Academy Press (1998)

SAT Biology Subject Area Test

Massachusetts Comprehensive Health Curriculum Framework

Chemistry

See Physics, above, and Next Generation Science Standards

Earth Science

See Physics, above, and Next Generation Science Standards

Ocean Literacy The Essential Principles and Fundamental Concepts of Ocean Sciences: March 2013

Ocean Literacy Network. The Centers for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence (COSEE) and Lawrence Hall of Science, University of California, Berkeley

Astronomy

See Physics, above, and Next Generation Science Standards

Mathematics

Common Core Mathematics Standards

Coding/Computers

Massachusetts Digital Literacy and Computer Science (DLCS) Curriculum Framework

CSTA K–12 Computer Science Standards

AP Computer Science Principles

History/Social Studies

National Curriculum Standards for Social Studies: A Framework for Teaching, Learning, and Assessment (2010 revision)

College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards

Common Core Literacy in History/Social Studies,

Massachusetts 2018 History and Social Science Framework

2017 Standards for Classical Language Learning

English

ELA Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy

The World-Readiness Standards for Learning Languages

These define the central role of world languages in the learning career of every student. The five goal areas establish a link between communication and culture, which is applied in making connections and comparisons and in using this competence to be part of local and global communities.

Standards summary page

Art

AP Art History Curriculum Framework

Music

Massachusetts Arts Curriculum Framework

Massachusetts

Overlapping standards on MCAS exams

Below are lists of the “overlapping standards from the 2001/06 and 2016 STE standards that will be assessed on the June 2019 MCAS High School Biology and Introductory Physics tests. The June 2019 Biology and Introductory Physics tests will consist of questions that align to both sets of standards. The focus of the test questions will be on the overlapping content and skills between the two sets of standards.

 

 

 

New information requires prior basic information

Archived: Building Pyramids: A model of of knowledge representation

By Efrat Furst (PhD), Post-doc Fellow at the Learning Incubator, SEAS, Harvard University. Her  background is in cognitive-neuroscientific research and professional development for educators.

Archived from https://sites.google.com/view/efratfurst/pyramids

Every new piece of knowledge is learnt on the basis of already existing knowledge.
The principle that organizes the knowledge is ‘Making Meaning’, or the ability to integrate and use a new concept in the context of what we already know.
In this pyramid model, every brick is a ‘piece of knowledge’ and the correct placement, on top of previous layer represents ‘meaning’, the final structure requires both.
Every pyramid is also a brick in a higher-level pyramid.

To learn a new piece of information (orange triangles) effectively, it should be learned on the basis of existing prior knowledge (gray triangles). Without prior knowledge (top panel), the new information cannot be integrated meaningfully (create a structure), and would most likely not survive overtime.

Knowledge Building Pyramids 1

Shing Y & Brod G (2016) Effects of Prior Knowledge on Memory: Implications for Education, Mind Brain and Education.

see also BLOOM’S TAXONOMY—THAT PYRAMID IS A PROBLEM by Doug Lemov

Higher order learning abilities like critical thinking, and creativity are depended on the existence of broad and well-established domain-specific knowledge, in one or more areas. Without this base, new high-level information cannot be structured appropriately, and hence will not be useful and will not be retained (top panel). The wider and more varied the basis of prior knowledge is, the higher, more complex and more creative structures it can support (bottom panel).

Knowledge Building Pyramids 2

Willingham, D. T. (2007). Critical thinking. American Educator, 31(3), 8-19

When the same routine of information is rehearsed during a session, a fast and impressive improvement may be evident . The gain, however, may not last long, when it is largely dependent on the specific context (of time, place, content, method, specific sequence etc.). When context fades as time goes by, the same level of performance cannot be maintained (top panel).

Knowledge Building Pyramids 3

However, when the study or practice in done in effective ways that emphasize crating meaningful connections to prior knowledge (elaboration), and between the newly learned items, we are building a stable structure of knowledge that may survive the passage of time and the absence of the learning context (bottom panel).

Prof. Robert Bjork on the distinction between Learning and Performance.

Bjork, E. L., & Bjork, R. A. (2011). Making things hard on yourself, but in a good way

Often we want learning or practice to be fun for ourselves of for our students, in order to build a positive experience. But if we wish to build knowledge through this experience, we must make sure that something is actually being built. Effective learning should include explicit elements of connecting the new knowledge to prior knowledge in meaningful ways (bottom panel), rather than just playing around with the new concept (top panel). Effective learning maybe more effortful (in a good way) than fun, but the long term results is usually rewarding.

Knowledge Building Pyramids 4

Prof Robert Bjork on Desirable Difficulties

Some things can be learned independently: when the relevant prior knowledge is available and when the learner is able to make the required connections between the new information and the existing knowledge (top panel). But for learning some other things guidance is essential: to supply information, or to to select the relevant information. Often guidance is needed to establish the nature of the relationships between the new and the existing information: a concrete example or a clear explanation that would make the pieces “fall” into the right place. With the appropriate guidance (bottom panel) more can be learned.

Knowledge Building Pyramids 5

Clark, R., Kirschner, P. A., & Sweller, J. (2012). Putting students on the path to learning: The case for fully guided instruction.‏

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From neuroscience to the classroom

26th September 2018, by Efrat Furst

Can neuroscience add anything to our understanding of the classroom? And what should teachers make of it? Efrat Furst looks into how this lens might prove useful in the future.

https://researched.org.uk/from-neuroscience-to-the-classroom/

 

Developing writing skills: Verb wheel

Verb wheel

This is a verb wheel inspired by Bloom’s taxonomy. Every level within the cognitive domain has actions and verbs that are specific to it. This chart illustrates the 6 levels, followed by the verbs that are associated with them. It then shows the different activities which students engage in, which is associated with that level.

By utilizing these verbs and activities, it allows educators to address questions in such a way that students “climb the staircase” of Bloom’s Taxonomy and can eventually be able to master the material.

Verb Wheel Based on Bloom's Taxonomy

Footnotes

TBA

Learning Standards

TBA

Thinking well requires knowing facts

On his blog, Rough Type, author Nicholas Carr writes:

Mind Thinking Thoughts

With lots of kids heading to school this week, an old question comes back to the fore: Can thinking be separated from knowing?

Many people, and not a few educators, believe that the answer is yes. Schools, they suggest, should focus on developing students’ “critical thinking skills” rather than on helping them beef up their memories with facts and other knowledge about the world. With the Internet, they point out, facts are always within easy reach. Why bother to make the effort to cram stuff into your own long-term memory when there’s such a capacious store of external, or “transactive,” memory to draw on? A kid can google the facts she needs, plug them into those well-honed “critical thinking skills,” and – voila! – brilliance ensues.

That sounds good, but it’s wrong. The idea that thinking and knowing can be separated is a fallacy, as the University of Virginia psychologist Daniel Willingham explains in his book Why Don’t Students Like School

This excerpt from Willingham’s book seems timely:

I defined thinking as combining information in new ways. The information can come from long-term memory — facts you’ve memorized — or from the environment. In today’s world, is there a reason to memorize anything? You can find any factual information you need in seconds via the Internet. Then too, things change so quickly that half of the information you commit to memory will be out of date in five years — or so the argument goes. Perhaps instead of learning facts, it’s better to practice critical thinking, to have students work at evaluating all that information available on the Internet, rather than trying to commit some small part of it to memory.

This argument is false. Data from the last thirty years lead to a conclusion that is not scientifically challengeable: thinking well requires knowing facts, and that’s true not simply because you need something to think about. The very processes that teachers care about most — critical thinking processes such as reasoning and problem solving — are intimately intertwined with factual knowledge that is in long-term memory (not just found in the environment).

It’s hard for many people to conceive of thinking processes as intertwined with knowledge. Most people believe that thinking processes are akin to those of a calculator. A calculator has available a set of procedures  (addition, multiplication, and so on) that can manipulate numbers, and those procedures can be applied to any set of numbers. The data (the numbers) and the operations that manipulate the data are separate. Thus, if you learn a new thinking operation (for example, how to critically analyze historical documents), it seems like that operation should be applicable to all historical documents, just as a fancier calculator that computes sines can do so for all numbers.

But the human mind does not work that way. When we learn to think critically about, say, the start of the Second World War, it does not mean that we can think critically about a chess game or about the current situation in the Middle East or even about the start of the American Revolutionary War. Critical thinking processes are tied to the background knowledge. The conclusion from this work in cognitive science is straightforward: we must ensure that students acquire background knowledge with practicing critical thinking skills.

Willingham goes on the explain that once a student has mastered a subject — once she’s become an expert — her mind will become fine-tuned to her field of expertise and she’ll be able to fluently combine transactive memory with biological memory.

But that takes years of study and practice. During the K – 12 years, developing a solid store of knowledge is essential to learning how to think. There’s still no substitute for a well-furnished mind.

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Bloom’s Taxonomy

Bloom’s taxonomy is a widely accepted model about how students learn, created in the 1950s by Benjamin Samuel Bloom, an American educational psychologist.

It is a set of hierarchical models used to classify educational learning objectives into levels of complexity and specificity. They cover learning objectives in cognitive, affective and sensory domains.

Bloom edited the first volume of the standard text, Taxonomy of Educational Objectives in 1956. A second edition arrived in 1964, and a revised version in 2001.

In the original version of the taxonomy, the cognitive domain is broken into six levels of objectives: Knowledge, Comprehension, Application, Analysis, Synthesis, Evaluation. In the 2001 revised edition of Bloom’s taxonomy, the levels are changed to: Remember, Understand, Apply, Analyze, Evaluate, and Create.

This above introduction was excerpted and adapted from Wikipedia by RK.
“Bloom’s taxonomy.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 27 Sep. 2018.

Bloom's Taxonomy

Despite Bloom’s intentions for this to be used in college and graduate schools, it is now frequently used in American kindergarten through high school curriculum learning objectives, assessments and activities. Bloom himself was skeptical of this.

Despite popular belief, the taxonomy had no scientific basis.  Richard Morshead (1965) pointed out on the publication of the second volume that the classification was not a properly constructed taxonomy: it lacked a systemic rationale of construction.

Morshead, Richard W. (1965). “On Taxonomy of educational objectives Handbook II: Affective domain”. Studies in Philosophy and Education. 4 (1)

This criticism was acknowledged in 2001 when a revision was made to create a taxonomy on more systematic lines. Nonetheless, there is skepticism that the hierarchy indicated is adequate.  Some teachers do see the three lowest levels as hierarchically ordered, but view the higher levels as parallel.

Bloom himself was aware that the distinction between categories in some ways is arbitrary.  Any task involving thinking entails multiple mental processes.

The most common criticism, perhaps most important to hear today, is that curriculum designers implicitly – and often explicitly – mistakenly dismiss the lowest levels of the pyramid as unworthy of teaching. Common Core skills-based curricular and professional development drill into teachers the idea that we shouldn’t be teaching students “facts”; rather, we should encourage students to ask questions and investigate, and learn the material, organically, for themselves.

What this doctrine misses is the fact that today’s knowledge in math, science history, etc., is literally the product of thousands of thinkers and writers, and millions of man-hours of thinking, research, and peer-review. Constructing a substantial knowledge of algebra could take a student 20 or 30 years – or they could be taught supposedly “lower level facts” about the rules of algebra.

As you read the modern day evaluations of Bloom’s taxonomy, below, note the consensus: The learning of lower level skills is necessary to enable the building of higher level skills. And New information requires prior basic information

Thinking well requires knowing facts

Psychologist Daniel Willingham explains in his book Why Don’t Students Like School:

[Modern teachers have been told that] perhaps instead of learning facts, it’s better to practice critical thinking, to have students work at evaluating all that information available on the Internet, rather than trying to commit some small part of it to memory.

This argument is false. Data from the last thirty years lead to a conclusion that is not scientifically challengeable: thinking well requires knowing facts, and that’s true not simply because you need something to think about. The very processes that teachers care about most — critical thinking processes such as reasoning and problem solving — are intimately intertwined with factual knowledge that is in long-term memory (not just found in the environment)…. Critical thinking processes are tied to the background knowledge. The conclusion from this work in cognitive science is straightforward: we must ensure that students acquire background knowledge with practicing critical thinking skills.

From “Why Don’t Students Like School.”

Bloom’s Taxonomy: A Deeper Learning Perspective

Education Week, by Ron Berger

The problem is that both versions present a false vision of learning. Learning is not a hierarchy or a linear process. This graphic gives the mistaken impression that these cognitive processes are discrete, that it’s possible to perform one of these skills separately from others. It also gives the mistaken impression that some of these skills are more difficult and more important than others. It can blind us to the integrated process that actually takes place in students’ minds as they learn.

My critique of this framework is not intended to blame anyone. I don’t assume that Benjamin Bloom and his team, or the group who revised his pyramid, necessarily intended for us to see these skills as discrete or ranked in importance. I also know that thoughtful educators use this framework to excellent ends–to emphasize that curriculum and instruction must focus in a balanced way on the full range of skills, for all students from all backgrounds. But my experience suggests that what most of us take away from this pyramid is the idea that these skills are discrete and hierarchical. That misconception undermines our understanding of teaching and learning, and our work with students.

Here’s What’s Wrong With Bloom’s Taxonomy: A Deeper Learning Perspective, By Ron Berger, Chief Academic Officer at EL Education.

Bloom’s Taxonomy – That Pyramid is a Problem

by Doug Lemov

A couple of useful notes though. 1) Bloom’s is a ‘framework.’  This is to say it an idea—one that’s compelling in many ways perhaps but not based on data or cognitive science, say. In fact it was developed pretty much before there was such a thing as cognitive science. So it’s almost assuredly got some value to it and it’s almost assuredly gotten some things wrong. 2) I was surprised, happy and concerned (all at once) to read the italicized phrase: with the understanding that knowledge was the necessary precondition for putting these skills and abilities into practice.

Ironically this is exactly the opposite of what people interpret Bloom’s to be saying. Generally when teachers talk about “Bloom’s taxonomy,” they talk with disdain about “lower level” questions.  They believe, perhaps because of the pyramid image which puts knowledge at the bottom, that knowledge-based questions, especially via recall and retrieval practice, are the least productive thing they could be doing in class.  No one wants to be the rube at the bottom of the pyramid.

But this, interestingly is not what Bloom’s argued—at least according to Vanderbilt’s description. Saying knowledge questions are low value and that knowledge is the necessary precondition for deep thinking are very different things. More importantly believing that knowledge questions—even mere recall of facts—are low value doesn’t jibe with the overwhelming consensus of cognitive science, summarized here by Daniel Willingham, who writes,

Data from the last thirty years lead to a conclusion that is not scientifically challengeable: thinking well requires knowing facts, and that’s true not simply because you need something to think about. The very processes that teachers care about most — critical thinking processes such as reasoning and problem solving — are intimately intertwined with factual knowledge that is in long-term memory (not just found in the environment)

In other words there are two parts to the equation.  You not only have to teach a lot of facts to allow students to think deeply but you have to reinforce knowledge enough to install it in long-term memory or you can’t do any of the activities at the top of the pyramid. Or more precisely you can do them but they are going to be all but worthless. Knowledge reinforced by recall and retrieval practice, is the precondition.

Bloom's Taxonomy revised delivery

In the spirit of the FDA which recently revised its omnipresent food pyramid to address misconceptions caused by the diagram created to represent it, I’m going to propose a revision to the Bloom ‘pyramid’ so the graphic is far more representative. I’m calling it Bloom’s Delivery Service. In it, knowledge is not at the bottom of a pyramid but is the fuel that allows the engine of thinking to run. If I had more time for graphic design, I might even turn the pyramid on its side. You probably want to do quite a bit of analysis and synthesis but only if you’ve got comprehension solidly in the bag. In other words you kind of need all of the pieces.

– Doug Lemov

Teachlikeachampion.com/blog/blooms-taxonomy-pyramid-problem/

A Critical Appraisal of Bloom’s Taxonomy

Seyyed Mohammad Ali Soozandehfar and Mohammad Reza Adeli

American Research Journal of English and Literature (ARJEL), Volume 2, 2016

… In 1999, Dr. Lorin Anderson, a former student of Bloom’s, and his colleagues published an updated version of Bloom’s Taxonomy that takes into account a broader range of factors that have an impact on teaching and learning. This revised taxonomy attempts to correct some of the problems with the original taxonomy. Unlike the 1956 version, the revised taxonomy differentiates between “knowing what,” the content of thinking, and
“knowing how,” the procedures used in solving problems.

… Today’s world is a different place, however, than the one Bloom’s Taxonomy reflected in 1956. Educators have learned a great deal more about how students learn and teachers teach and now recognize that teaching and learning encompasses more than just thinking. It also involves the feelings and beliefs of students and teachers as well as the social and cultural environment of the classroom.

Anderson (2000) argues that nearly all complex learning activities require the use of several different cognitive skills. Like any theoretical model, Bloom’s Taxonomy has its strengths and weaknesses. Its greatest strength is that it has taken the very important topic of thinking and placed a structure around it that is usable by practitioners. 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.

On the other hand, as anyone who has worked with a group of educators to classify a group of questions and learning activities according to the Taxonomy can attest, there is little consensus about what seemingly self-evident terms like “analysis,” or “evaluation” mean. In addition, so many worthwhile activities, such as authentic problems and projects, cannot be mapped to the Taxonomy, and trying to do that would diminish their potential as learning opportunities. In the following sections, this study presents several in-depth criticisms:

…. it has been maintained that Bloom’s Taxonomy is more often than not interpreted incorrectly. Booker (2007) believes that “Bloom’s Taxonomy has been used to devalue basic skills education and has promoted “higher order thinking” at its expense” (2007, p.248). In other words, lower order skills such as knowledge and comprehension are being considered as less critical or invaluable skills.

Being referred to as lower order skills does not make knowledge or comprehension any less important, rather they are arguably the most important cognitive skills because knowledge of and comprehension of a subject is vital in advancing up the levels of the taxonomy. Therefore, in line with Booker’s conclusion, the Taxonomy is being improperly used. Bloom never stated that any of his cognitive levels were less important, just that they followed a hierarchical structure. Booker (2007) points out that even Bloom himself recognized that the application of the taxonomy was unexpectedly happening at the K-12 level and much less so at the university/college level.

The Misdirection of American Education

A Roof without Walls: Benjamin Bloom’s Taxonomy and the Misdirection of American Education, By Michael Booker

Abstract: Plato wrote that higher order thinking could not start until the student had mastered conventional wisdom. The American educational establishment has turned Plato on his head with the help of a dubious approach to teaching developed by one Benjamin Bloom. Bloom’s taxonomy was intended for higher education, but its misappropriation has resulted in a serious distortion of the purpose of the K–12 years. Michael Booker attributes the inability of American children to compete internationally to a great extent to our reliance on Bloom in expecting critical and advanced thinking from kids who have been trained to regard facts and substantive knowledge as unimportant.

Bloom’s Taxonomy has become influential to the point of dogma in American Colleges of Education.

Bloom’s Taxonomy has been used to devalue basic skills education and haspromoted “higher order thinking”at its expense.

Shortchanging basic skills education has resulted in producing students who misunderstand true higher-order thinking and who are not equipped for advanced education.

…. Soon after it was published, a body of research began to build around theTaxonomy. In 1970, Cox and Wildemann collected an index of the existing research into Bloom’s Taxonomy.12According to their study, 118 research projects of various sorts had been conducted in the previous decade and a half. A review of their data, however, shows that most of the research lacked experimental results that might either confirm or invalidate it. The results noted are not reassuring. Initial studies showed that individuals skilled in the Taxonomy frequently could not agree on the classification of test items or objectives.

… This adds up to an extraordinary misreading of the Taxonomy. Standards intended for college students get pushed down to the K–12 system. Instead of teaching those K–12 students hierarchically, the foundation of the structure is ignored. The push is made to the highest levels of the Taxonomy, especially level six, Evaluation. Since Handbook 1 is currently out of print (a measure, perhaps, of how carefully it is studied in the colleges of education), I will quote its caveats about Evaluation.

For the most part, the evaluations customarily made by an individual are quick decisions not preceded by very careful consideration of the various aspects of the object, idea or activity being judged. These might be termed opinions rather than judgments.…For purposes of classification, only those evaluations which are or can be made with distinct criteria in mind are considered.

Despite these warnings, typical Evaluation questions take the form of “What do you think about x?”and “Do you agree with x?” These questions are often accompanied by praise for what education literature misidentifies as the “SocraticMethod.” The result of this strategy is to occupy class time with vacuous opining.

When I speak with my fellow community college instructors, we rarely complain about student ’lack of advanced intellectual skills. Our chief source of frustration is that they haven’t mastered the basics needed to succeed in college-level work. Since I teach philosophy, I don’t expect my students to come to class knowing any content about my subject area.

Still, it would be lovely if they exited high school with some knowledge of world history, science, English, and geography. A large cohort (much to my frustration) doesn’t know how many grams are in a kilogram or when to use an apostrophe. I have a friend, Dr. Lawrence Barker, who once taught statistics at a state university. Each quarter he quizzed his incoming statistics students about basic math. The majority, he learned, couldn’t determine the square root of one without access to a calculator. He left teaching and is now happily employed by theCenters for Disease Control.

A Roof without Walls: Benjamin Bloom’s Taxonomy and the Misdirection of American Education, Michael Booker, Academic Questions 20(4):347-355 · December 2007

 

Alternative models of learning

Rex Heer, at the Iowa State University Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching created this model. He writes:

Among other modifications, Anderson and Krathwohl’s (2001) revision of the original Bloom’s taxonomy (Bloom & Krathwohl, 1956) redefines the cognitive domain as the intersection of the Cognitive Process Dimension and the Knowledge Dimension. This document offers a three-dimensional representation of the revised taxonomy of the cognitive domain. Although the Cognitive Process and Knowledge dimensions are represented as hierarchical steps, the distinctions between categories are not always clear-cut. For example, all procedural knowledge is not necessarily more abstract than all conceptual knowledge; and an objective that involves analyzing or evaluating may require thinking skills that are no less complex than one that involves creating. It is generally understood, nonetheless, that lower order thinking skills are subsumed by, and provide the foundation for higher order thinking skills.

A Model of Learning Objectives by Rex Heer

The Knowledge Dimension classifies four types of knowledge that learners may be expected to acquire or construct— ranging from concrete to abstract.

Knowedge Dimension based on Bloom's

The Cognitive Process Dimension represents a continuum of increasing cognitive complexity—from lower order thinking skills to higher order thinking skills. Anderson and Krathwohl (2001) identify nineteen specific cognitive processes that further
clarify the scope of the six categories.

Cognitive Processes dimension based on Bloom's

Based on this, Rex Heer develops this three dimensional model. Again, please note that – as Bloom himself always intended – remembering facts (misunderstood as the “lowest” part of the method) – is actually the most important part: remembering facts is the base on which everything else depends. One can’t engage in higher level critical thinking skills on a subject without first knowing the content of the subject.

Rex Heer Revised Bloom's taxonomy

Model by Rex Heer, Iowa State University, Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching, Jan 2012. Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

http://www.vccs.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/fyafi16-catherine-glaiser-course-design.pdf

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