Broad/Fundamental

Advanced Laboratory Class

Joe Peidle developed this class with Melissa Franklin to help expose advanced physics students to apparatuses that they may encounter in a real research lab. Students come into experimental lab sections to perform simple activities with the staff to learn how to use the apparatuses throughout the entire class.

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.

Science and Cooking Labs

Pia Sörensen details how the Science of Cooking class conducts lab assignments through actual cooking experiences. For this example, she navigates through the Molten Chocolate Cake Lab/Heat Lab, but also attached three other examples for more resources. This experiment is supposed to help students understand the concepts of science and cooking in a practical setting by actually cooking or baking with the scientific tools and knowledge acquired through class.

Theme and Variations: Understanding Musical Style

The activity took place as part of an ongoing unit on various forms in Classical music, 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 the activity itself, students had already been introduced to the idea of "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.

Attached is the syllabus for the class.

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.

Life Class - How to Become a Sage

Students prepared for this assignment by reading the week’s reading assignment about the Chinese philosopher Xunzi in the class textbook. The instructor acted as Oprah Winfrey, introducing a new Life Class entitled, “How to Become a Sage.” She introduced the four guest Life Coaches—four of the Chinese philosophers discussed in class: Confucius, Xunzi, Zhuangzi, and Mencius. 

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.

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.

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