Writing Learning Objectives in Primary Science/Document

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Learning Domains or Bloom’s Taxonomy

The Three Types of Learning

There is more than one type of learning. A committee of colleges, led by Benjamin Bloom, identified three domains of educational activities. The three domains are cognitive, affective and psychomotor. Since the work was produced by higher education, the words tend to be a little bigger than we are normally used to. Domains can be thought of as categories. Cognitive is for mental skills (Knowledge), affective is for growth in feelings or emotional areas (Attitude), while psychomotor is for manual or physical skills (Skills). Trainers often refer to these as KAS, SKA, or KSA (Knowledge, Attitude, and Skills). This taxonomy of learning behaviours can be thought of as ‘the goals of the training process.’ That is, after the training session, the learner should have acquired these new skills, knowledge or attitude.

The committee then produced an elaborate compilation for the cognitive and affective domains, but none for the psychomotor domain. Their explanation for this oversight was that they have little experience in teaching manual skills within the college level (I guess they never thought to check with their sports or drama department).

This compilation divides the three domains into subdivisions, starting from the simplest behaviour to the most complex. The divisions are not absolutes and there are other systems or hierarchies that have been devised in the educational and training world. However, Bloom’s taxonomy is easily understood and is probably the most widely applied one in use today.


The cognitive domain involves knowledge and the development of intellectual skills. This includes the recall or recognition of specific facts, procedural patterns, and concepts that serve in the development if intellectual abilities and skills. There are six major categories which are listed in order below starting from the simplest behaviour to the most complex. The categories can be thought of as degrees of difficulties. That is, the first one must be mastered before the next one can take place.

Knowledge: recalls of data Examples: recites a policy. Quotes prices from memory to a customer. Knows the safety rules.

Key words: defines, describes, identifies, knows, labels, lists, matches, names, outlines, recalls, recognizes, reproduces, selects, states.

Comprehension: understands the meaning, translation, interpolation and interpretation of instructions and problems. States a problem in his/her own words. Examples: Rewrites the principles of test writing. Explains in his/her own words the steps for performing a complex task. Translates an equation into a computer spreadsheet.

Key words: comprehends, converts, defends, distinguishes, estimates, explains, extends, generalizes, gives examples, infers, interprets, paraphrases, predicts, rewrites, summarizes, translates

Application: Uses a concept in a new situation or unprompted use of an abstraction. Applies what was learned in the classroom into novel situations in the workplace. Examples: Uses a manual to calculate an employee’s vacation time. Applies laws of statistics to evaluate the reliability of a written test.

Key words: applies, changes, computes, constructs, demonstrates, discovers, manipulates, modifies, operates, predicts, prepares, produces, relates, shows, solves, uses.

Analysis: Separates material or concepts into component parts so that its organizational structure may be understood. Distinguishes between facts and inferences. Examples: Troubleshoots a piece of equipment by using logical deduction. Recognizes logical fallacies in reasoning. Gathers information from a department and selects the required tasks for training.

Key words: analyses, breaks down, compares, contrasts, diagrams, deconstructs, differentiates, discriminates, distinguishes, identifies, illustrates, infers, outlines, relates, selects, separates.

Synthesis: Builds a structure or pattern from diverse elements. Puts parts together to form a whole, with emphasis on creating a new meaning or structure. Examples: Writes a company operations or process manual. Designs a machine to perform a specific task. Integrates training from several sources to solve a problem. Revises and processes to improve the outcome.

Key words: categorizes, combines, compiles, composes, creates, devises, designs, explains, generates, modifies, organizes, plans, rearranges, reconstructs, relates, reorganizes, revises, rewrites, summarizes, tells, writes.

Evaluation: Makes judgements about the value of ideas or materials. Examples: Selects the most effective solution. Hires the most qualified candidate. Explains and justifies a new budget.

Key words: appraises, compares, concludes, contrasts, criticizes, critiques, defends, describes, discriminates, evaluates, explains, interprets, justifies, relates, summarizes, supports.

Expressing objectives on science lesson plans

- be able to…- be able to express the fact that…- be able to express understanding of…- be able to describe…- be able to sort and group…- be able to explain why…- be able to use the correct terminology to explain why…- be able to use their knowledge of… to explain why…- be able to use the… model to explain why…- be able to use ideas from… and from… to explain…- be able to identify patterns in…- be able to use… pattern to predict…

Objectives relate to both the conceptual and procedural aspects of work in science.

Assessment in Science

Writing Learning Objectives

Objective Vocabulary

Words to avoid

KnowAcquire skills in

LearnAppreciate the significance of

UnderstandBecome familiar with

Develop mastery ofMemorise

Words to use


ConstructIdentifyCompareGive examples





Set upPlanApplyDistinguish between

RepairExplainPredictDraw conclusions



Planning for Differentiation

Ensure children’s strengths are used to build their confidence and maintain motivation.

Matching the demands of the activity to the children’s levels of attainment.

Providing a range of activities that will ensure the participation of all the children.

Allow sufficient time for revisiting skills/themes/concepts.

Allow time for children to reflect on their work.

Ensure pace of the lesson is appropriate to the needs of the children with their differing work rates.

Use material which is free from racial and gender bias.

Use a range of communication/recording methods.

Make planned and effective use of NTAs/LSAs.

Organising some work to be done in groups or pairs to encourage co-operative work i.e. recording as a pair.

Science Medium Term Plan Discussion Sheet

Title Date
Focus Yes/No/Partly Notes and suggestions
Is it clear which strands of the PoS 2, 3 or 4 will be covered? Is it clear which science concepts are involved?
Has the focus of science skills from Sc1 been considered?
Does the work have links with the children’s overall topic?
Is there an activity to establish children’s current scientific thinking at the start of the plan?
Does each activity show exactly what the children are to learn? Is there a clear science learning outcome?
Do activities match the children’s abilities and interests?
Does each activity state exactly what the children are to do?
Have cross-curricular links been established where appropriate?
Is there a range of teaching styles? Do they best fit the activity?
Has a whole investigation been included (if appropriate)?
Do the activities show progression in skills, knowledge and understanding?
Are a range of assessment strategies built into this plan?
What evidence will be collected to ensure that children can be assessed against learning objectives?
Has safe practice been considered?
Have resources and their availability been checked?
Is there reference to the science National Curriculum?
Is it clear what scientific knowledge and understanding the children will gain from this lesson?
Is it clear what science skills are being developed?
Has safety (Sc0, strand 5) been considered?
Can the learning outcomes realistically be achieved in one lesson?
Does the plan show that the student’s science knowledge and understanding are correct?
Will this be an interesting lesson, relevant to the pupils and set in an appropriate context?
Is there an opportunity to discover what the children already know at the start of the lesson?
Is it clear how the class will be organized for practical work e.g. whole class, groupings, etc.?
Is it clear what the teacher will be doing at various stages of the lesson?
Is it clear what the children will be doing at various stages of the lesson?
Does the lesson have a clear beginning, middle and end? Are these realistically timed?
Are appropriate questions and scientific vocabulary planned for?
Is it clear how the children will communicate their findings?
Does the lesson cater for a full range of abilities where necessary?
Is it clear what resources are to be used and how they are to be organised?
Is it clear what will be assessed and how this links with the stated learning outcomes?
Is this activity to be used as a summative assessment with a match made to Level Description?