Group & Cooperative Learning; Students as Classroom Leaders

Speed Dating Elevator Talks

This activity, contributed by the Cornell Center for Teaching Excellence, was created for a graduate communications class to provide students with the opportunity to practice concise description of their graduate research projects.  Students go on "speed dates" to practice giving eloquent blurbs of their research.

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

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.

Cells vs. Buildings

Created by Kostia Bergman, Erin Cram, Wendy Smith, Scott Dobrin, Presque Isle, and Judith Roe, this lesson for an intermediate Cell Biology course encourages students to take a big-picture view of the cell by comparing cells to buildings in order to think about the dynamic processes within cells. The lesson utilizes a jigsaw and quick write.

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.

Red Light, Green Light: Cell Division and Angelina Jolie

Created by Paul Ogg, Melissa Krebs, Vida Melvin, Amanda Charlesworth, and Melanie Badtke, this lesson teaches how cells regulate cell division using some lecture interspersed with interactive activities including clicker questions, pair/share, and class discussion, applying concepts to Angelina Jolie's BRCA1 mutation.

Protein Function Follows Form: Two-Lesson Activity

Created by Moriah Beck, Masih Shokrani, Karen Koster, William Soto, David McDonald, and David Swanson for the National Academies Northstar Institute for Undergraduate Teaching in Biology, this activity spans 2-3 classes and uses lecture, clicker questions, jigsaws, and group discussions to teach the relationship between protein structure and function.

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.

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