Activity Database

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.

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.

Thesis Statement Peer Review

How do you craft a good thesis statement? In this activity, students work together to refine their ideas and put together possible evidence for different topics. The purpose is to teach students how to connect their thesis statement with the rest of their paper, and to revise the two in tandem (start with a draft thesis, bring some evidence together, revise the thesis to better reflect the evidence, revise the evidence to better fit the thesis, etc.)

Thought Essays

In his Freshman Seminar, Professor John Dowling assigned both basic textbook readings and supplementary readings.  Since students were to lead the discussion of the supplementary readings, John ensured that they would have something to say by assigning weekly 1 page "thought essays" that required students to draw on ideas from the readings.

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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