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 […]
It’s easy for science instruction to linger in the bowels of Bloom’s Taxonomy as we try to cram everything into the tiny time allotted. However, isolated facts don’t inspire our students. Let’s set up units that invoke creativity but demand knowledge.
Science should be more than memorizing facts. Let’s spice it up and push our students from the doldrums of remembering to the soaring heights of evaluation. While it’s true that this will take longer than just following a textbook, we’re not just teaching facts, we’re equipping students with the ability to make well-informed judgements.
Smith uses his Ph.D. in cognitive psychology to target gifted students’ unique thinking processes. Units are designed for deep exploration with many avenues of thought. All projects are based on ill-structured problems, with no “right answers.” He also runs his district’s enrichment program, so the units are designed for busy teachers. Each unit is structured into step-by-step, daily lessons (even including homework ideas!).
At our school, 6th graders participate in an annual egg drop. To increase the rigor, I looked for unique scientific roles and came up with three: designing a parachute to slow the egg’s descent, testing materials to pack inside the structure, and developing the structure itself. Each of these roles will be developed into a scientific discipline.
If we expect gifted students to learn information at a more rigorous level than the general population, then we must also assess them at higher levels as well. How can you embed higher level thinking skills into an assessment (and ditch those “multiple choice” and “fill in the blank” sections)?