Plant Morphology is Just a Game

by Riva Bruenn, Plant and Microbial Biology Teaching Effectiveness Award Essay, 2016 Plant morphology is a well-organized catalog of vegetative form. Every week students have dozens of plants to illustrate, interpret, and describe in lab, and even more material to cover and review in discussion. In order to finish the Continue Reading >>

Starting with Art for the First Time

Elaine Yau, History of Art
I have often noted that students who have never had an art history course can be overwhelmed by a commonplace assumption that artistic “masterpieces” are self-evidently great. This point of departure usually results in hackneyed discussions about beauty, perfection, or “pinnacles of civilization.” I wanted my first writing assignment to provide a structured, accessible process for formal analysis that would equip students with a vocabulary from which to build their own interpretations confidently — to treat paintings as primary sources from a moment in history.

The Hip Bone is Connected to the Thigh Bone: Fostering Higher-Order Learning by Not Answering Students’ Questions

by Julie Wesp, Anthropology
I wanted to create an environment that would stimulate higher-order learning and instill a deeper understanding and organization of the information. Answering the kind of questions the students were asking did not help them to piece together the parts into a whole; it only insinuated that repetitive memorization was the key to success. In an effort to break this cycle, during the next section I simply stopped answering them.

Consensus Techniques for Learning Together

by Genevieve Painter, Legal Studies (home department Jurisprudence and Social Policy)
Sorting through masses of research is a key learning objective of the reading and composition seminar. Students reported feeling overwhelmed as they confronted a wealth of sources and ideas in preparing their final papers. What is one way that participatory social movements deal with analyzing an excess of information? Card clustering!

Seeing for Yourself

by Ryan Turner, Astronomy (Home Department: Earth and Planetary Science)
Not everything we learn in school is easily quantified, and the goal of the C12 star party did not include specific learning objectives. The effectiveness of the project was measured in oohs and aahs as students took their first look through the eyepiece.

Beyond Bean Counting: A New Laboratory to Teach the Concepts of Microevolution

by Sonja Schwartz, Environmental Science, Policy, and Management
My goal for this laboratory was to engage students of all learning styles by using a combination of passive and active, visual and auditory, and conceptual and applied activities. By reinforcing the material this way, I wanted to get beyond endless bean counting to more effectively teach my students key concepts of evolution.

Multi-Sensory Windows into Ancient Near Eastern Archaeology

by Stephanie Langin-Hooper, Near Eastern Studies
One of the most involved and successful projects that I designed was a miniature replica of underwater shipwreck excavations. Using large turkey roasting pans, water, sand, and an assortment of miniature objects, I recreated three underwater shipwreck excavation sites…The students became the archaeologists and were divided up into excavation teams…Through a multi-sensory engagement, this project successfully opened the eyes of my students to the dynamic process of archaeological excavation.