Data for Discussion

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.

Name Five

Kellie Carter Jackson, a Harvard College Fellow, created the game “Name Five” for her AAAS118 class. In the beginning of the class, she goes around the room and asks students to list five notable people of different ethnicities to help students understand the world and the power dynamics within it.

Understanding the mechanisms of evolution: random genetic drift

Created by Ned Dochtermann, Erin Gillam, Timothy Greives, Kristina Holder, Steve Travers, and Jennifer Weghorst, this lesson focuses on the evolutionary mechanism of random genetic drift.  Students explore how population size affects allele frequencies by engaging in a group activity that involves generating and plotting data, interpreting graphs, and formulating hypotheses.

The Problem of Scale in Evolution

Created by Jillian Banks, Jeremy Brown, Cindy Gordon, Chris Gregg, Travis Marsico, Chris Osovitz, and Rebecca Symula, this activity focuses on the importance of temporal scale and specifically seeks to resolve the common student misconception that evolutionary change is only observable on a single timescale.  It utilizes index cards in an interactive jigsaw.

Coevolution Case Study

Created by Laura Conner, Susan Hester, Anne-Marie Hoskinson, Mary Beth Leigh, Andy Martin ,and Tom Powershis, and contributed by Yale University's Center for Scientific Teaching, this case study lesson reinforces the concept of coevolution and gives students practice with the analysis and interpretation of data.

Costa Rican Specimen Scavenger Hunt

Students embarked on this lab-based activity to help understand the species of Costa Rica. Graduate Student Teaching Fellow Alexis Harrison created this activity for her OEB 167 class to allow students to see and interact with preserved specimens from the Museum of Comparative Zoology, so they can further understand the types of animals they will see on their spring break trip to Costa Rica.

Paper Presentations and Discussions

In OEB 119: Deep Sea Biology, groups of students have to present and lead discussions on scientific papers throughout the semester. Before class each week, all students have to read an assigned scientific paper and post a summary paragraph and two questions to an online forum. A group of students has to prepare a short presentation about one part of the paper, so that each paper is presented by a different group of three to four students each week. 

Presenting Primary Papers

In OEB 191: Physiological and Biochemical Adaptation, students present one or two papers in primary literature to the class and lead the discussion. After retrieving the papers from online sources or the library and reading them, the presenters prepare a PowerPoint show to explain and summarize the findings.