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2014-2015 Workshops: Assignment Ideas

Top Five In-Class Group Activity Examples

Case Study

  • Create four to five case studies of similar difficulty. Have students work in groups of 4-5 for 10-15 minutes to work through and analyze their case study. Call on groups randomly and ask that students share their analysis. Continue until each case study has been addressed.

Fishbowl Debate

  • Ask students to sit in groups of three. Assign roles (2 debators, 1 decision maker). Decison maker takes notes and decides which side is the most convincing and provides an argument for his or her choice. Debrief by calling on a few groups to summarize their discussions.

Group Grid

  • The instructor creates a grid or matrix based on several categories or criteria. Students use the grid to classify course concepts. After groups complete their grids the instructor shows the correct version. Students compare their work, ask questions and revise their ideas.  

Think‐Aloud Pair Problem Solving (TAPPS)

  • Students work in pairs and alternate roles. For each problem one is the solver while the other is the listener.
  • The solver thinks aloud—narrating his/her reasoning process—while solving the problem. The listener prompts the solver to keep talking and asks for clarification but does not intervene to help.

Write-Pair-Share / Think-Pair-Share

  • The instructor poses a question that demands analysis, evaluation, or synthesis. Students take a few minutes to think through an appropriate response and then turn to a partner (or small groups) and share it.
  • Take this a step further by asking students to find someone who arrived at an answer different from their own and convince their partner to change their mind.
  • Student responses are shared within larger teams or with the entire class during a follow-up discussion.

More In-Class Group Activity Examples

Catch-up

  • Stop at a transition point in your lecture and have students turn to a partner or work in small groups to compare notes and ask clarifying questions. After a few minutes, open the floor to a few questions.

Group Problem Solving

  • Present student groups with an open-ended problem while giving them some structure or guidance toward solving it. Let groups reach a final outcome or solution.

Group Writing Assignments

  • Assign groups to write (and submit) Wikipedia entries on course‐related topics or create study guides for the course.

Reciprocal Teaching

  • Students jointly read a text or work on a task, and then take turns being the teacher for a segment of the text or task. In their teaching role students lead the discussion, summarize material, ask questions, and clarify material. 

Stump your Partner

  • Students create a challenging question based on the lecture content up to that point and pose the question to the person sitting next to them. 
  • Students can write down their questions and turn them in. Questions can be used to create exams or gauge student understanding.

Team-based Learning (adapted from L.K. Michaelsen in Davis, 2009. p.215)

  • Give students a task to complete before class (i.e., reading, solving a problem, applying a theory, etc.), and then check their comprehension of the material with a quick multiple-choice quiz. Have students submit their answers.
  • Assign students to groups and have them review their answers with group members to reach consensus. Have each group submit one answered quiz.
  • Use both the individual and group scores for each student's course grade.
  • Deliver a lecture that specially targets any misconceptions or gaps in knowledge the assessments reveal.

Long Term Group Project Examples

In addition to the traditional research paper and examples below, many of the In-Class Activity examples can also be adapted to a term project.

Writing

  • Research Paper
  • Business Plan
  • Proposal
  • Surveys/Report Data

Presentation

  • In-Person
  • Videos
  • PowerPoint, Prezi, etc.
  • Infograph

Capstone Project

More In-Class Activity Examples & Resources

Sources for Activities Listed on this Page