Building the Big Picture

by Alejandra Figueroa-Clarevega, Molecular and Cell Biology
During discussion sections I became aware that my students were…studying the material as individual, independent, non-related facts. It was like trying to assemble a 3,000-piece puzzle without having a picture to refer to. Thus my goal became to help my students understand the context that would allow them to collect the facts more easily, group similar ideas together, and be able to place them in relationship to each other.

Helping Students Learn (and Effectively Use) What They Already Know

by Paul Bruno, Physics
If I could help them recognize what they had learned, and to see how that acquired knowledge empowered them to understand even more course material, I could develop both their understanding of physics and their positive self-efficacy as science learners.

Creating Coherence with Conceptual Maps

by Edith Replogle Sheffer, History
I distributed piles of arrows, blank paper, and colored markers, and announced we would construct our diagram of the Revolution on the table. Following a rough chronological order, we built the map one index card at a time. A student would read their card aloud; the group then discussed its significance and debated where to place it.

Demystifying the Thought Process

by Viswanath Sankaran, Mathematics
Integral Calculus poses a new challenge. Here, most problems involve a crucial “guessing” step (called the substitution) that transform them into more amenable problems. An “insightful” guess leads to the solution, a “wrong” guess can get one stuck. So the question is: How can a teacher communicate this insight?