Those of you familiar with the original Bloom's Taxonomy know that it is a "classification of learning objectives" divided between the Cognitive, Affective, and Psychomotor learning domains. (Have you heard about the proposed fourth domain? Health-Related Fitness.) The intended goal of the Taxonomy, "is to motivate educators to focus on all three domains [and the different "levels" or "ways" of thinking], creating a more holistic form of education" (see the Wikipedia article linked above for more).
Lately I've had the time to explore the use of Bloom's Taxonomy. In doing so I learned about a revision of the Taxonomy that was presented in 2001. What caught my eye about this revision was the inclusion of the "creating" process - something we like to do in adventure education. Creating is placed at the "higher order thinking skill" level in this new model (more here - a really nice interactive page from Iowa State's Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching. NOTE: The interactive model needs Flash Player to work - I didn't see it on my iPad, but did with my computer).
What inspired the Channels Project was a May 2012 blog post by Shelley Wright. "Flip This: Bloom's Taxonomy Should Start with Creating." Shortly after this read I set out to create an activity that could move a group through the ways of thinking (and, working with teachers and future teachers, help them understand and remember the areas of the revised Bloom's - flipped or not). The interesting discovery was that the ways of thinking are also obvious question prompts for the reflective process throughout the activity and during the processing session after the activity.
(Thanks to Chris Davis for the graphic.)
The Channels Project
Needs & Numbers (original set-up): One channel for each participant in the group (see Pipeline post for equipment options and ideas), 4 small rollable objects (e.g., marbles), 4 small cups or bowls, 4 cones, 4 chairs - the four-legged kind, one wide-mouthed container, 1 timing device, 1 diagram/list of the Flipped Ways of Thinking, 1 list of required actions for reference (e.g., provide information on flip chart paper or a white board), and a few blank sheets of paper and a writing tool. Works well with 10 to 12 in a group.
Time: This one could go from 30 to 90 minutes depending on the group(s) and how deliberate you are with the rules and objectives. (For example, I'm thinking of using this as an "extended initiative" - an activity that lasts more than one group meeting (more about EI's in an upcoming post).
Set-Up: (For each group of 10 to 12 participants.) Mark the corners of a 25-foot square boundary area (can be indoors or outdoors) with the four cones. Place one chair inside the boundary area about 5 feet from each corner and an equal distance from each side. Place the wide-mouthed container directly in the center of the boundary area (wide-mouth up). Place one rollable object, that has been placed in a small cup, at each of the corners of the boundary area - just outside the boundary area. Set down all the other supplies somewhere near the outside of the boundary area.
Procedure: Here is what I've said so far (or very close to it), to introduce the activity:
"The objective of this activity is to create a transportation system of channels inside the boundary area that will move a small rollable object - found at each corner of the boundary area - over and into the container located at the center of the boundary area as quickly as possible. All boundary-area equipment must stay in its current location.
At some point during the movement of the small rollable object it must include the following action steps while inside the boundary area [reading from the list I will give to the group] - The rollable object must go: OVER something, UNDER something, AROUND something, THROUGH something, BETWEEN two things, DROP through the air, travel HORIZONTALLY (or close to it) through the air, move DOWN, and move UP. These actions do not need to go in the order listed on this paper I have for you, they simply need to be included in the system." (Even though my groups have asked me to clarify some of these requirements, I have simply said, "I will leave that up to you, as a group, to decide on how you integrate these actions.")
"During the activity I will also ask you to adhere to the following Rules of Play:" [I share these Rules of Play before letting the group(s) start their work.]
[I continue with the following information before the group is allowed to begin...]
"During the activity, as noted, you will have up to four attempts (since there are four rollable objects to move) to achieve the objective. Please use the blank paper, found in your supplies, to diagram - including "action step" areas - your transportation system for the rollable object. Also included in your supplies is a list (or diagram) called, Ways of Thinking. Consider using this list as you work through the challenges of this activity. After creating a system to move the object evaluate and analyze how it works for you. Think about ways to improve your system and apply the changes. After you reach your objective (or not, due to time limitations or loss of supplies), we'll take some time to talk about what you've come to understand and want to remember about your experience with the Channels Project.
I'm now ready to answer any questions you have before starting the activity."
Facilitation Notes: If a group does manage to move the rollable object before four attempts have been made, encourage them to continue, trying to decrease the overall time it takes to move the object. Asking: How can your system be improved? If a group does not complete the objective, dig into the process with a focused processing session. Use the Ways of Thinking, starting with Evaluating their work. Then Analyze the parts of the process that were evaluated poorly. Move into possible Applications of changes to the process - assume what might happen if changes would be made. Wrap up with what the group Knows about each other and how they work together, and what they want to Remember about their experience - what do they want to transfer into the future. Then, move on to the future - another activity. See what they learned.
As I'm sure you can tell, there will be/is a great deal to discuss during and after this activity. Each time I've lead this one I've used the Ways of Thinking terms within my questions to the groups. I've also found that flipping the revised Bloom's taxonomy and using it within an activity lends itself to using the different Ways of Thinking when needed. It's not about a rigid linear step-by-step process. (NOTE: In the original Taxonomy, Bloom et al., did promote a scaffolded way of moving through the levels - one first needed basic Knowledge before one could Comprehend something. After comprehending, one could then learn to Apply the information and so on through the model. More recent, pedagogy is moving away from the linear model of Bloom's and exploring how analyzing, for example, can be an initial step to learning - informing comprehension and knowledge (e.g., Problem-Based Learning or Inquiry-Based Learning).
Let me know how this one works out for you! Comment below.
All the best,
Dr. Chris Cavert is an internationally known author, speaker, and trainer in the area of adventure-based activity programming and its relation to community and pro-social behavior development.
This blog is a space for hands-on programable fun - energetic activities and ideas that can be used as a means to bring people together; activities and ideas we as educators can add to our social development curriculums.