Stimulating Students to Think

Reflection on Course Learning Goals

Overview: This activity is designed to assess students’ understanding of the course learning goals by engaging the students in an active, individualistic question and answer session. It provides the instructor with valuable insights about his/her students’ learning and if the course learning objectives are being met.

Course: HGSE T139 Investigating Teaching and Learning Through Close-Collaborative Examination of Student and Teacher Work


Conceptual Mapping for the Big Picture

Overview: In this activity, students work as a group to create one large conceptual map that includes many or all of the key concepts from the course using large Post-it notes and dry easer markers.

Class: HGSE T543: Apply Cognitive Science to Teaching and Learning (section)


(1)  For students to see the big picture and connections between the concepts of the course.

(2)  To assess where students are at in their understanding of the course concepts and where more work might be needed.

Heads-Up Seven-Up Quiz

Introduction/Background: In Emily Riehl's Topology I: Topological Spaces and the Fundamental Group, she uses a fun heads-up-seven-up style quiz to quickly engage students and test the level of confusion among the students. This activity not only helps students participate and actively take a part in their learning, but also assists the instructor in increasing the effectiveness of their lectures. 

Political Divide Blog Post

Introduction/Background: In Psychology of the Political Left and Right, Sasha Kimel challenges her students to create a blog post that helps develop their awareness of how the political divide affects one's psychological processes, like behaviors, thoughts, feelings, and more.

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.

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.

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.