Friday, April 11, 2014

In-Class Activities: A Well I Have Fallen Into

This term I am utilizing in-class activities in all four of my classes in various ways. Previously I've used them only in special cases where the topic is best understood by a hands-on demonstration of the concept. After teaching with a flipped classroom model developed by another faculty member, I am becoming more comfortable with students discovering the material in-class, as opposed to me telling students what the ideas are.

College Mathematics - This is the course I taught last term that utilized a flipped classroom model. Students are to print out handouts before class, take a pre-quiz, come to class, work on the handouts in groups, complete the handouts at home, and take a post-quiz within 24 hours after class. They repeat this for a number of handouts, and also have group tests, tests, and homework. Initially I was worried about, well, everything. Students not showing up, not understanding, waiting for me to tell them what to do, etc. It all happened, but those students who would have done well in a traditional class did well here. Those that would not have done well in a  traditional course... I'm not sure if they did any better using this model. The freedom that students are allowed in this format presents them with a choice, to put the time into understand the material, or not. But this is the choice all students have in any course. At this point I see this method doing no harm, and possibly helping students understand the material a bit better.

Trigonometry/Pre-Calculus - This is a 5 credit hour course that meets twice a week, meaning two and a half hour class meetings. To break up lectures I'm using in-class activities to have students develop concepts, or to gain practice with different skills. The first two had students developing the graphs of trigonometric functions. Students were initially resistant, but during the summation of the activity they were able to answer questions students in previous classes were not.

Calculus I - I'm using the POGIL activities (link to come) another instructor recommended. There are only three in the course, but if the first activity is any indication, I think they'll do well.

Calculus III - Weekly activities meant to simulate a structured recitation. The activities have been successful, but the time it takes to develop them is considerable.

I will be posting these activities in my upcoming Worksheet Wednesdays. Feel free to download them, use them, and send along any feedback.

No comments:

Post a Comment