Students learn to construct a persuasive argument by brainstorming multiple ways to structure their final research paper using post-its, large pieces of paper, or whatever other materials students like. They organize and re-arrange primary sources in a low-pressure environment to generate multiple logical flows for their papers.
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.
Student groups are each assigned a region experiencing a humanitarian crisis for research. They produce a visual timeline representing the processes precipitating and leading up to the crisis and the relief efforts undertaken in response. As a final project, each group produces an infographic representing a theme or a typology it observes across the different crises explored throughout the timeline exercise.