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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 or call at x4408.