In Improving Learning in Kid’s Bible Classes, Bloom’s Taxonomy was translated for teaching children and teens the Bible. As you are able to move your students up the pyramid to higher levels of understanding, they will have more ability to take what you have taught them and use it in productive and practical ways in their lives.
You may be wondering how you can transform your class from one focusing on remembering to one of the higher levels on the pyramid. One of the best ways is to change how you ask questions. Different types of questions will encourage your students to think about your lesson in new and different ways.
So what are some of the questions for the various levels of understanding? This is by no means a complete list, but it should help you get started:
- Remembering – Who was on the Ark? How many tribes were there in Israel? In what country were the Israelites slaves? Any basic question which asks your students to recall details of the story will fit in this category. This category covers some (but not all) of the basic reporter’s questions – who? what? when? and where?.
- Understanding – What does righteousness mean? Can you give me an example of someone in the Bible who was gentle? Can you tell me in your own words what it means to be the light of the world? These questions will help your students communicate to you what they do and do not understand about what you have taught them. It is one thing to recite the facts, but facts are useless if the information has no meaning to your student.
- Applying – What can you do to serve others like Tabitha? How can you share your faith and the changes it has meant in your life like the Apostle Paul? Your goal is to have your students take the information they now understand and figure out how to apply it in their every day life. Bible knowledge not applied is wasted.
- Analyzing – Why do you think the mother of James and John was concerned about their place next to Jesus? How did Simon the Sorcerer and Cornelius handle the idea of gifts from the Holy Spirit differently? Why did Paul and Peter react to the Jewish Christians’ demands differently? These types of questions get your students to examine the scriptures more closely. Comparing and analyzing the actions of godly (and ungodly) men and women over time will help your students begin to notice patterns. Finding and mimicking the godly patterns can help your students make better choices in their own lives.
- Evaluating – How important is showing love to others in Christianity? How important is your faith in your life? How trustworthy is the Bible? How do we know this is what God wants for our lives? This level is so scary for many people, but it shouldn’t be. To truly make Christianity their identity and their lifestyle, your students will have to evaluate what they have learned from the Bible. They have to embrace God as the foundation of their lives and their choices. Only then will their faith truly become their own and not just a habit or a to-do list.
- Creating – What are some ways to serve others and share our faith? Can you think of a way to solve xyz problem in the world that also honors God and points others to Him? How can you design your life so you are glorifying God in everything you do? These questions may seem more well suited for teens and adults. In some ways, these higher level questions should be questions Christians continue to ask themselves throughout their lives. Even young children though can be encouraged with these questions to start dreaming godly dreams for their lives.
Remember, this is a hierarchy. Every student won’t be ready for every level of these questions during each class time. Some of your students may never be able to shape answers for some of the levels while they are in your class. The importance is not always in the answers, although those can give you important insight into their hearts. Rather your questions will encourage them to start thinking about God in ways requiring more active knowledge and understanding than they currently have. So ask questions on multiple levels and see if you don’t begin to notice a difference in their answers over time. Your students may just surprise you!