Keeping Students Engaged

Trish Ferrett

I keep a list of in-class activities designed to stimulate thought on and interest in class material on the wall next to my desk. It helps keep the class from getting stale: whenever I need something to spice up a lecture, the list is right there.

Learning Activities

  • Jigsaw group problems/questions/puzzles
  • Class worksheets, individual or group
  • Given a table of data/observations
    - interpret and analyze
    - find trends, generalize, make rules
  • Graphical interpretation or creation of a plot
    -explain the graph
    -use plots to predict or fit to a model
    -demonstration to show actual result
    -solve a problem graphically
  • Students predict, instructor demonstrates, students observe and explain
  • Students experiment and explain
  • Multimedia/simulations: do and explain, predict and test, use or construct an animation or simulation
  • Microscopic models --> predictions of macroscopic behavior --> do it to test
  • Research a topic (library or web) and write a short essay
  • Write a one-minute paper
  • Answer questions based on reading (articles, web, core text)
  • Discuss questions in a small group, report back to class
  • Make a concept map
  • Draw a sketch/cartoon to summarize
  • Teach someone else what you have learned
  • Group problem solving: work a difficult problem together
  • Describe information needed to do a task
  • Describe what your answer will look like (number, concept, +, -, large, small, etc...)
  • Explain or create a picture which is a microscopic model of reality
  • Describe what you don't know about the problem/question at hand
  • Answer multiple choice questions with tempting alternatives, why tempting?
  • Answer questions which challenge commonly held beliefs (face cognitive dissonance)

If you have any more questions, or would just like to talk this idea over, feel free to email tferrett@carleton.edu or call at x4408.