Developing Questions for Gallery Walk to Engage Higher Order Thinking

This material was originally created for Starting Point:Introductory Geology
and is replicated here as part of the SERC Pedagogic Service.

This section introduces Bloom's Taxonomy of Educational Objectives as an aid in writing questions for Gallery Walk (Bloom, 1964). Questions using the analysis, synthesis, and evaluation categories seem to work best with Gallery Walk. Questions involving knowledge, comprehension, and application work best with the "Gallery Run" format.

Gallery Walk involves preparing questions based around a lecture's central concept, issue, or debate. The wording of the question depends on the desired learning skill or level of abstraction. A variety of questions can be used but the technique seems to work best with higher order questions relating to analysis, evaluation, and synthesis. A good way to frame questions for Gallery Walk is to use Bloom's Hierarchy see Bloom's Taxonomy and Critical Thinking ( This site may be offline. ) which provides a guide for wording questions at various levels of abstraction.

Below are Bloom Hierarchy key words (taken verbatim from the resource above) that can be used to frame questions. A couple of examples of questions follow. For a more extensive listing of possible examples go to section on Sample Questions for Gallery Walk

Examples of "Knowledge" level questions - recall of facts

bloom's taxonomy
Image Source: Douglas College
Key Words: what, when, where, define, spell, list, match, name.

  1. List the earth's major tectonic plates.
  2. What molecule in the stratosphere protects against ultraviolet radiation?

Examples of "Comprehension" level questions - understanding and stating key concepts or main ideas

Key Words: summarize, rephrase, explain, interpret, compare, contrast, outline, translate.

  1. What is the difference between weathering and erosion?
  2. Draw a several diagrams outlining the development of an oxbow lake.

Examples of "Application" level questions - applying knowledge in new ways and in novel situations

Key Words: apply, solve, model, make use of, organize, experiment with, use.

  1. If the top of this test page represents north, use an arrow to indicate a southwest wind.
  2. Use Darcy's Law to calculate groundwater flow rates (m/s) in location A and in location B.

Examples of "Analysis" level questions - breaking down information into key components, finding evidence

Key Words: analyze, find evidence for, examine, inference, assumption, categorize, conclusion, classify, compare, contrast, discover, dissect, inspect, simplify, relationships.

  1. What inference can you make about the geomorphic history of this region based on the location and form of terraces?
  2. What evidence exists in this soil profile that this soil should be classified as an entisol rather than an inceptisol?

Examples of "Synthesis" level questions - combining elements in a novel way, proposing alternate solutions

Key Words: combine, create, design, develop, build, compile, compose, construct, formulate, imagine, invent, make up, originate, plan, predict, propose, change, improve, adapt, improve, change.

  1. Make recommendations for the current coastal zoning plan in order to better protect property from hurricane damage.
  2. Create a field check list for identifying outcrops prone to mass wasting.

Examples of "Evaluation" level questions - making judgements based on accepted standards

Key Words: criticize, defend, dispute, evaluate, judge, justify, recommend, rule on, agree, appraise, assess.

  1. Criticize arguments made in a creationist web site based on the laws and theories of science.
  2. Defend, using sound scientific evidence, the use of Yucca Mountain as a nuclear waste repository.


Bloom,B. Mesia, B. and Krathwohl, D. 1964. Taxonomy of Educational Objectives (two vols: The Affective Domain & The Cognitive Domain). New York. David McKay.

Image Source: Air War College, 2004. Bloom's Taxonomy,, accessed 12 November 2004.