Preparing to Teach 3: Active Learning Strategies

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  • Summer Graduate Teaching Scholars

    Preparing to Teach 3:

    Active Learning Strategies

    May 26 and 27, 2016


    Name Course Dept/School

    Summer I or II # students

    Peter Newbury

  • Scholarly Approach to Teaching

    (backward design[1]) 2

    What should



    What are



    What instructional


    help students


    Carl Wieman

    Science Education Initiative

  • 3

    formative & summative assessment

    instructional strategy

    learning outcome

    last week


  • Active Learning 4

    student-centered instruction traditional instruction

  • think pair share (TPS)

    peer instruction with clickers

    interactive demonstrations

    What do you notice?

    What do you wonder?

    surveys of opinions



    videos 5

    student-centered instruction

    Active Learning

  • Think-Pair-Share (European History) 6

    To what extent is should governments intervene

    when a population is actively being persecuted?

    What is the role of government in promoting

    equality and tranquility between majority and

    minority groups within its populations?

    Write down your response on your card.

    Then discuss it with your neighbors.

    (Emily Goodman, UC San Diego)

  • Think Pair Share (TPS)

    The instructor

    1. poses interesting question or thought prompt

    2. asks each student to think and write thoughts

    on an index card

    3. invites students to pair with a neighbor to

    discuss their thinking

    4. moderates class-wide discussion where

    students share their thinking with the entire


    (TPS can be source for peer instruction questions next time you teach.) 7

  • (Question: Sujatha Raghu from Braincandy via LearningCatalytics)

    (Image: CIM9926 by number657 on flickr CC)

    Discussion (Chemistry)

    Melt chocolate over low heat. Remove the

    chocolate from the heat. What will happen to the


    A) It will condense.

    B) It will evaporate.

    C) It will freeze. 8

  • Typical Episode of Peer Instruction 9

    1. Instructor poses a conceptually-challenging

    multiple-choice question.

    2. Students think about question on their own

    and vote (clickers, colored ABCD cards,)

    3. Instructor asks students to turn to their

    neighbors and convince them youre right.

    4. After that peer instruction, students may

    vote again.

    5. Instructor leads a class-wide discussion

    concluding with why the right answer(s) is

    right and the wrong answers are wrong.

  • 10

  • clarity Students waste no effort trying to figure out

    whats being asked.

    context Is this topic currently being covered in class?



    Does the question make students do the right

    things to demonstrate they grasp the concept?

    distractors What do the wrong answers tell you about

    students thinking?

    difficulty Is the question too easy? too hard?




    Will the question engage the students and

    spark thoughtful discussions? Are there

    openings for you to continue the discussion?

    What makes a good question?

    Peer Instruction - 11

    (Adapted from Stephanie Chasteen, CU Boulder)

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  • 15

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  • Make up a TPS prompt or peer

    instruction question for your

    learning outcome.

    Remember, the goal is to spark expert-like

    thinking and communicating.

    Think very carefully about points-of-view, ways

    of thinking, misconceptions you want to hear in

    the students discussions. Use the thought

    prompt and question choices to drive the

    conversation there.

    Share your question with your neighbors 17

  • Anticipate the responses

    What do you think the students will think?

    How do you think the students will vote?

    Anticipate one or two scenarios and plan how

    youll respond.

    If you anticipate the discussions

    will not go where you want them,

    revise the thought prompt or question choices. 18

  • Next week:

    Setting up and supporting your

    course on TritonEd (TED)

    Watch the blog

    for details about what you should do to

    prepare for next weeks meeting. 19

  • References 20

    1. Wiggins, G. P., & McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by design.


    2. Sadler, P. M., Sonnert, G., Coyle, H. P., Cook-Smith, N., & Miller, J. L.

    (2013). The influence of teachers knowledge on student learning

    in middle school physical science classrooms. American Educational

    Research Journal, 50(5), 1020-1049.