The Fourth Crusade Charges into the Classroom

by Kathryn Jasper, History
I wanted the students to realize that historical interpretation, what appears on the pages of their textbook, was written by a human being who is not omniscient. The author’s conclusions are based on primary sources and informed analysis. In addition, that author is subject to his or her own biases. Moreover, the sources themselves are biased, which the students understood when they had to formulate arguments based on…[the] text.

Negotiating European Integration Yourself: Role Playing, Simulations, and Counterfactuals in Teaching Political Science

by Sener Akturk, Political Science
All theories “make sense” at some level, making it difficult for students to find their weaknesses. Hence, many students believe that the political development of the region they study (Europe, Middle East, etc.) could not unfold differently than it did…To overcome these problems, I set aside a section in mid-semester for students to act out 50 years of EU political development in a simulation.

Making the Connections: Dissecting Fatty Acid Biosynthesis

by Nicholas Stephanopoulos, Chemistry
As a GSI, I fell back on the question that has guided me through countless teaching experiences: when I was trying to learn this topic, what did I wish a GSI had told me to make it truly click in my mind? What allowed me to break past the memorization barrier to deeper understanding?

Reversing Roles: How Would Your Students Devise a Section Lesson Plan?

by Veronica Herrera, Political Science
I thought that many of these students would go on to teach, facilitate presentations in future careers, give public speeches, or otherwise coordinate and instruct a group of colleagues, students, etc. The way sections were commonly taught did not allow for them to be constructors of the material in order to prepare for such a career, but rather the students were often passive digesters.

Teaching Mitosis and Meiosis Using Metaphor and Play-Acting

by Benjamin Freedman, Molecular and Cell Biology
Why had the fishing metaphor been so successful? I theorized that it gave the students a way to personally relate to the microscopic events of cell division. In the next class, I decided to take this one step further.

Utilizing a Unifying Experiment to Enhance Conceptual Integration

by Jason Ng, Vision Science
I knew that I wanted to strengthen the students’ understanding of the lab material and provide greater clinical relevance…The challenges were to find a way to tie the labs together over the entire semester, and to focus on creating a more direct link between the basic science experiments in the labs and actual clinical patient testing.

Bringing Opera Closer to Home

by Michael Markham, Music
The difficulty of classical opera for students…lies in a perceived cultural distance between the realistic dramatic forms that today’s students relate to and cartoonish images of huge, blubbering sopranos…The form tends to remain closed to undergraduates; a huge, hulking, messy, “dead” thing with little direct emotional impact resonance for them. In the 2004 Summer session, however, I decided to meet the students halfway.