This activity follows an adjustable sequence of steps and rules for engagement to ensure that all students, even in large classes, are able to find each session clear, accessible, rigorous, and relevant and to feel that the classroom culture offers them an equal opportunity to speak. As part of these routines, hands are never immediately called on when the instructor asks a question. Instead, all students are expected to develop an answer and then collaborate with their peers to develop a group answer, and a representative from each group shares the group’s response. Rules for engagement, explicit criteria for meeting and exceeding expectations, and transparent discussion routines ensure that all students can access the discussion and be optimally challenged during class.
Students are asked to write down a weird or random fact about themselves on a sticky note and to pass it to the person to their left. Each student is then asked to brainstorm logically possible explanations of the fact he or she has received. Through this activity, students learn to distinguish the best or most likely explanations from all the logically possible ones.
Faculty develop a national security crisis and simulate placing the students on the National Security Council Staff to develop strategic options to drive U.S. foreign policy. By thrusting students into positions of responsibility for solutions to real-world issues, this activity requires students to draw on what they have learned and to think on their feet, and it fosters a deeper appreciation for the challenges associated with working on foreign policy.
Students analyze musical themes from "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring", first as a partnered homework assignment, then during a class discussion, and finally on their own as they passed by in the film.
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.
Students develop skills in critical paper reading by working through a series of active learning exercises. At different stages of the jigsaw activity, students work together to develop an understanding of one piece of the figure, and then teach and learn from each other in a dynamic classroom.... Read more about Paper Figure Jigsaw
This activity teaches skills in critical assessment of the peer-reviewed published literature. It focuses on analysis of clinical trials in mental health, but the principles and methods are readily generalizable to other scientific literature. The “Smackdown” approach represents an augmentation of the traditional “journal club” mode of teaching critical scientific reading skills.