Individual

Thalidomide: The pros and cons

This case study, contributed by the Cornell Center for Teaching Excellence, is intended to show that two enantiomers can have different effects on the body, and how the same drug can be used to treat different diseases or symptoms.  It is also intended to help students begin to understand the process of FDA approval for drugs.  This problem could be used in an organic chemistry class or in a class for non-science majors.

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

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.

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.

Wave Dispersion and Mathematica

Elizabeth Petrik, a graduate teaching fellow for Physics 15c, created this Mathematica activity to help students build physical and quantitative intuition about wave dispersion. The usage of Mathematica in this activity allows for students to not only solidify the concepts they learned in class, but also create a working program that helps them understand wave dispersion in another medium.

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