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Higher order thinking in a Social Studies lesson on National Identity

Subject: Social Studies
Level:  Y4
Topic: Singapore and Globalisation: Impact on Identity


Bloom’s taxonomy places “creating” as the highest order of thinking. In this lesson, students were given the opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of national identity by creating a product: an index to measure national identity.

“Give the pupils something to do, not something to learn; and the doing is of such a nature as to demand thinking; learning naturally results” (Dewey, 1916).


In the last two lessons, students had already discussed the concept of national identity and the related concepts of rootedness, sense of place and community.

Group Assignment

An assignment document entitled “Create an Index” was crafted for students. It provided relevant details of the context, audience, task and product. Students were required to work in groups of 5-6. Three blocks had been set aside for group discussion and class sharing. Below is a brief outline of the context and task of the assignment:

Context: A report highlighted that the importance of national identity had declined amongst young Singaporeans aged 15 to 19 years old. This group also identified themselves as global citizens, ahead of their national identity. The Ministry of Education was concerned with the attitude of young Singaporeans towards national identity, as well as issues concerning sense of belonging and social integration.

Task: Students were part of a student research group set up by MOE to develop an Index to measure the level of national identity / sense of belonging / social integration of Singaporean youth.

Concept Development: “Index”

The concept of an “index” had been identified as a pre-requisite knowledge for students to embark on this assignment. Human Development Index (HDI) was used to introduce the concept as it was relatively simple and more widely-used. Two components of index was introduced: “Dimension” and “Indicators”.

Human Development Index
Dimensions Health Knowledge Income
Indicators Life Expectancy Literacy Rate GDP per capita

After the introduction, 4 indices were given for students to analyse: World Governance Index, Globalisation Index, Where-to-be-Born Index and Democracy Index. Working in their groups, students chose one index and would identify:

  • Dimensions and Indicators;
  • Any limitations

With their understanding of what is an index, students would proceed to develop their own index.


I concluded the lesson by posing the following question: In what way can an index be useful? This concluding question enabled students to appreciate an index and how indices were used in our daily life. For example, indices could be used to rank countries (eg ranking of the most globalized countries), band countries (developed, developing, undeveloped) or to track progress over time.


Posted by:Mr Azahar M Noor


Centre for Pedagogical Research and Learning (RGS PeRL)

Raffles Girls’ School

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