9.4 Fun and Games! Engaging Students with in-Class Activities

Wednesday, 25 January 2017: 2:15 PM
308 (Washington State Convention Center )
Rebecca L. Batchelor, UCAR, Boulder, CO; and V. Sloan, R. Haacker, and A. U. Gold

An active learning environment can increase student engagement and persistence in STEM fields. During the last few years, we have incorporated active learning activities into scientific communication workshops offered as part of summer research experience programs at the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the University of Colorado at Boulder. These programs are offered for high school to graduate level students, including community college. We engaged students in activities ranging from peer-share, peer-review, group discussion and creating imaginary proposals, to student-created games such as “pin-the-abstract-on-the-poster” and “graphics jeopardy.” In some cases whole classes have been led by student groups. We have found that these activities not only improved engagement, but also helped to build cohesion amongst the group and created a community of learning and belonging for the participants. We have found that our engaging class activities have helped to increase confidence and self-efficacy among our students. These strong student cohorts have proven to be a key success factor for students to successfully complete the intense summer research programs. Many of our internship programs target students from underrepresented backgrounds, who often lack the self-confidence to persevere in challenging STEM fields. In this presentation we will share some of the activities we have brought to our classes, the lessons we’ve learned along the way, and some early evaluation results.
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