I’ve gotta admit, I’m a sucker for that classic Bloom’s Taxonomy. I love the word “Synthesize” rather than “Create.” Why? First, it sounds really cool. But my real love for “Synthesize” is because “Create” is so easily abused. We can “create” a list of the 50 states, but that sure isn’t at the top of Bloom’s.
“Synthesize,” however, clearly reminds me that my students need to be bringing in lots of knowledge, analyzing it, playing with it, and then having a new thought as a result from all that effort.
Create Synthesize A Creature
When we studied adaptations as part of our science unit on biomes, I eventually (over many years!) crafted a set of lessons that led students toward a project that truly belonged at the top of Bloom’s. They acted as paleontologists who discovered the remains of a new creature that inhabited a particular biome.
- They sketched out the fossil remains and highlighted three adaptations that the creature might have used to survive in the biome in which it lived.
- Then, they drew the creature as it might have really looked, showing off those adaptations in action.
- Finally, they wrote a brief story, explaining how that creature used its adaptations to survive.
Why It’s Synthesis
As you can see, this task is not just a fluffy art project. It’s grounded in what we’ve been learning throughout the unit: animals have adaptations specific to their environment. They use those adaptations to survive. Students use that understanding (and their understanding of real creatures’ adaptations) to develop a realistic (but made-up) creature of their own.
I brought in elements of Think Like A Disciplinarian and had my class present their findings to their peers. We advertised the day as a conference of leading paleontologists, coming together to share their new knowledge. I’d also encourage students to ask questions at the end of each presentation, focusing on what they wonder about how this new animal used its adaptations.
Now, once I have a solid “synthesize” level of thinking going on, it’s ok to add in those fun (but fluffy) bonus ideas:
- Have kids dress up.
- Decorate the classroom like a conference.
- Create brochures or other advertisements.
Find a full version of this Create A Creature task at Byrdseed.TV.