I find that students get a better understanding of solid state structure by playing with models. I give students two fifty-minute class periods to look at the structure types that we discuss in class. This is an old in-class activity that needs massive updating.
In this activity, students look at the holes in different lattice types (simple cubic, ccp, hcp) and the CsCl, NaCl, CdI2, ZnS, and spinel structure types.
the past, I have not directly figured out if students did this other
than going around the class and having students explain stuff to me and
asking them related exam questions.