course organization

Lee Hadden hadden at wingate.edu
Thu Jul 19 10:58:01 EST 2001


I've found that using a variety of diverse examples was also confusing to
students.  What is perfectly clear to us is confusing to them.  But really,
what else is to be expected?  For many, if not most, it is their first
encounter with the subject and examples in any depth or at all.  We've
familiarized ourselves over many years and thus it is second nature to us and
we make transitions easily based on analytical and synthetic ability born of
experience.  Although many of the students are bright, they have insufficient
experience from which to draw to make the extrapolations we take for granted.
The points we try to make are lost in what is a maze of unfamiliarity to
them.   Start with concrete points to which they relate well and build from
there.  New concepts have to be built on familiar ones if they're to make
sense and become lasting.

This latest dialogue and the many contributions have been most insightful and
helpful.

Lee Hadden



"Janice M. Glime" wrote:

> I found that hopping back and forth between plants and animals made the
> students very uncomfortable, and they claimed it confused them.  I have
> had far fewer complaints since I switched to doing plant things as a group
> - first animals, then plants, then things where the two interacted or had
> a more ecological bent.  I found that there were some principles I could
> teach with one, then have the students try to think through how it might
> occur by applying the principles they had learned with the other.  This
> worked especially well in problems dealing with cold/freezing.  After
> covering frozen and torpid animals and cryoproteins, membrane damage, etc,
> I had them work in groups in lecture and come up with a scheme of how a
> tree might survive winter.  They were way ahead of their text book on that
> one and did an outstanding job.  They were pleased to learn that they had
> developed explanations that had been known to science for only a few
> years.
>
> Janice
>
> ***********************************
>  Janice M. Glime, Professor
>  Department of Biological Sciences
>  Michigan Technological University
>  Houghton, MI 49931-1295
>  jmglime at mtu.edu
>  906-487-2546
>  FAX 906-487-3167
> ***********************************
>
> ---

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