Submitted by Chip Nataro / Lafayette College on Thu, 08/31/2023 - 17:09
My Notes

I am currently in the process of teaching flipped General Chemistry I for the second time. The first time I did it, I do not think I did a great job of 'selling' the students on this modality of learning. I received some very negative student comments including one that suggested this was just a lazy method of teaching. So, I've made some changes the second time, in particular my pitch of the idea.

The main point I wanted to get across what that the best way to learn is to actively engage with the material. Another way to say that is to work problems before taking an exam. Of course, there are a lot of analogies to this, and the one that came to mind is from the world of sports, you've got to practice to get better in games. I had many ideas on how best to demonstrate this in class, but I finally settled on the one demonstrated in the videos.

This was done on the first day of class. I randomly put a highlighter mark on one syllabus, and that was how the student was selected. I had them come down front and told them to make and approximately 25 foot putt for extra credit in P-Chem 2 (a course I do not teach so really can't do). The student in the video (Cate) was a good sport and surprisingly did not try to practice before making the attempt. If the selected student had started swinging the club to get a feel, I was going to stop them. Kate took a good whack at it and the putt flew past the hole and smacked into the wall.

Cate then got some "expert" instruction. Not that I am a putting expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I noticed some things and made suggestions. She then made her second attempt and as anticipated, did not make that. I thanked Cate and then asked students what the point of this exercise was and what it had to do with class. I got an immediate response of 'practice'. No matter how good my instructions to Cate were or would ever be, the only way she would ever make that putt would be by practicing.

My biggest fear was that the selected student would make the putt. But I had a plan. They would then be putting from the top of the stairs in the room down to the bottom. I feel this shot would be next to impossible. I could spin from that the idea that some of this material might be 'easy' for some of you, but it is going to get harder and you too will eventually need to practice.

My thanks to Cate for allowing me to share the videos and my SI Leader Alexa for capturing them.

Learning Goals

For students to realize that active learning in a flipped setting is the best way for them to engage the material and they will learn better this way.

Implementation Notes

You need a putter, golf balls, a portable hole and a long enough space to ensure low odds of making the putt. In theory, this type of activity could translate to anything. I thought about possibly bringing in a musical instrument, but I know less about that than I do golf. You could adapt this to be pretty much anything you have an interest in.

Time Required
5 minutes
Evaluation Methods

Two days into class and they were working really hard and asking quesitons. Time will tell.

Creative Commons License
Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share Alike CC BY-NC-SA