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.

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.

HMS/BWH Case Study

For her sixth section, Kirstin Woody Scott prepared this activity based off of the HMS/BWH case study on Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee and tuberculosis. This activity allowed students to discuss and present the knowledge of the case they had reviewed in lecture and tackle policy realities in global health. Students prepared oral arguments to take on the role of different stakeholders and defend their positions when faced with cuts to global health funding.

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.

Archive Analysis

Students were asked to produce a multimedia and historical analysis of the archives of Saudi Aramco World. It aimed to bring historical and secondary sources alive by putting students directly in contact with primary, archival sources and asking them to critically engage with those materials.

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.