In Improving Learning in Bible Classes for Kids and Teens, we introduced Bloom’s Taxonomy as a way to improve the depth of what your students understand. Last time, we gave you the types of questions you can ask your students to get them to begin thinking on some of these higher levels of understanding.
Besides how you word your questions, you can choose activities which will encourage your students to begin understanding the Bible in new and more meaningful ways. This can be a little trickier than just asking questions, partially because activities can often cover one or more levels of the taxonomy.
If you want your students to begin processing your lessons in more meaningful ways, these are some of the types of activities you may want to consider using:
- Remembering – Songs and games are some of the more fun and common ways of helping students remember basic Bible information. Consider encouraging students to create mnemonic devices, poems, original art work and other creative ways to help them remember important biblical information. Once we designed a pillow with artwork for the Fruit of the Spirit and the Armor of God. It was amazing how many kids memorized both just by having the pillow in their room for several weeks. (With no added encouragement from us to memorize them.)
- Understanding – Part of the problem with understanding the Bible is that it was written in and about a culture radically different from the culture many of our students know and understand. They may never have seen a sheep, much less understand shepherding. Activities which allow your students to experience various aspects of the culture of ancient Israel will greatly improve their understanding of many parts of the Bible. Demonstrations are fine, but consider allowing them to try and herd sheep, hit a target with a replica of an ancient sling (hint:ping pong balls make great “stones” for your sling), taste foods, grind grain and more. The experiences will remain in their memories for years and help their understanding as they read the Bible later in life. If all else fails, show accurate video or photos. They can really help understanding what the Tabernacle or Temple looked like or other places and things which would be difficult to easily reproduce.
- Applying – Application activities can be begun in class and continued during the week outside of class. Consider giving your students “special missions”. Perhaps they need to earn money for missions during the week and then come to class prepared to learn about various mission opportunities and contribute. Maybe your students begin a service project by creating something to help someone and then are tasked with using it to serve someone during the week. You can even use crafts. Have students create a craft to help them remember to read their Bible daily or pray multiple times during the day. Anything that will help your students practice applying what they have learned in class to their lives during the time between classes.
- Analyzing – Use activities that help students analyze scriptures or what people chose to do in the Bible. Discussion is an obvious activity, but you can also have some hands-on fun which allows students to analyze the Bible. How about having students create skits depicting the many characteristics of two or more people in the Bible. How accurately did each group portray their person? What do the various people have in common? Which ones made godly choices? Ungodly ones? What decision making process results in godly decisions more than ungodly ones?
- Evaluating – This is another higher level thinking process which naturally lends itself to discussions. If you decide to use discussion to encourage your students to evaluate what they have learned, make sure you are asking appropriate questions. It is very easy to accidentally slip back into a lower level of the taxonomy without realizing it. Make sure your questions are really encouraging your students to evaluate what they have learned. This is a great time to teach students how to use various study tools to evaluate what others may teach them in light of the scriptures.
- Creating – Now is the time to give your students a lot of creative freedom. Challenge them to find ways to serve others and share their faith. Help them organize and execute their projects. Don’t take over, but allow your questions to gently guide them into finding their own answers to issues which may arise. (Odyssey of the Mind has lots of resources for how to guide students without controlling their projects.) Encourage your students to constantly be creating a life and projects which glorify God, serve others and share their faith.
Using Bloom’s Taxonomy in your lessons through your questions and activities can make your class one your students will never forget. More importantly, it will impress God’s Words upon their hearts in ways a more typical Bible class may not. It’s worth the extra effort!