Interpret Primary Sources to Propose a Model or Argument

Forensics Lab

This final lab project, contributed by the Cornell Center for Teaching Excellence, utilizes the techniques learned throughout the semester in the lab as well as the concepts learned in the lecture portion of the class.  The project involves a person breaking into a building and leaving the exhumed body of the dead college founder and a threatening note in a classroom.  Evidence such as fingerprints, hair, fibers, shoeprints and glass are left at the crime scene.... Read more about Forensics Lab

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.... Read more about Thalidomide: The pros and cons

Our Habitable World

Created by Khoa Nguyen, Michal Brylinski, Benjamin Maas, Kristy Stensaas, Suniti Karunatillake, Achim Herrmann, and Wolfgang Kramer, this teachable unit aims to implicitly enable scientific modeling skills among the students. With developing a conceptual model from a set of observations as the underlying goal, variations in atmospheric oxygen content provides context.

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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

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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.

First, students are given a simple melody,...

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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.

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East Asian Text Diagrams

Overview: This activity helps students read texts, analyze them, and present the information into a diagram.

Goals:  Enable students to closely and quickly analyze texts.

Introduction/Background: Students were given texts to read in class. Each of the texts was of a kind that can be represented straightforwardly as a diagram: geography (map), a series of events (cyclical calendar), or a description of the body in relation to the cosmos (a star...

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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.

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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.... Read more about Understanding the mechanisms of evolution: random genetic drift

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