Observational

Speed Dating Elevator Talks

This activity, contributed by the Cornell Center for Teaching Excellence, was created for a graduate communications class to provide students with the opportunity to practice concise description of their graduate research projects.  Students go on "speed dates" to practice giving eloquent blurbs of their research.

Our Habitable World

Created by Khoa Nguyen, Michal Brylinski, Benjamin Maas, Kristy Stensaas, Suniti Karunatillake, Achim Herrmann, and Wolfgang Kramer, this teachable unit aims to implicitly enable scientific modeling skills among the students. With developing a conceptual model from a set of observations as the underlying goal, variations in atmospheric oxygen content provides context.

Sounding China

This was a semester long project. Throughout the semester, graduate students (many of whom had little previous exposure to the course material) studied the history of Chinese music theory, the Jesuit missionaries who transmitted it back to western Europe, and the reception of Chinese culture there in the 18th century. The website commemorating the exhibit and giving more information can be found at hcs.harvard.edu/soundingchina

Theme and Variations: Understanding Musical Style

This activity took place as part of an ongoing study of the various conventional forms in Classical music (sonata, concerto, etc.), and also contributed to a larger, semester-long conversation about the ways in which we deal with the nebulous concept of "style" in music. Coming into the class itself, students possessed a basic knowledge of musical rudiments such as melody and harmony. For this particular activity, students had already been introduced to the idea of a "Theme and Variations" form, and had listened to several examples.

Bring a Goddess to a Party

Students were expected to have researched one goddess from the ancient Near East as described in several primary and secondary sources. The description of the activity on the syllabus is as follows: Choose a female deity or demon from the ancient Near East that you find captivating. Now imagine you have just invited her to a party at Smith College. Describe what she looks like and what she will wear to the party. How will you introduce her to your friends? Tell them where she is from, what her interest are, and explain her special talents, as well as any personality traits that might make for awkward social interactions.

Floor Plan

This is an activity for Lioudmila Zaitseva's Elementary Russian class. She goes through a floor plan illustration on the board and calls on volunteers to label the parts, then place a corresponding image in the specific zone of the plan. This is a fun way for students to remember their vocabulary, basic verbs, and basically conduct a general review.

Understanding Diaspora

Benjamin Weber created an activity that spans across the entire class to help students understand the concept of “diaspora” through constant reiteration of concepts from some excerpts given to the class by the instructor. Students learned how to close-read excerpts, write reflections, and create their own ideas about the theme of the class.

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