Teach the Earth > Energy > Teaching Activities > Energy Gallery Walk

Energy Gallery Walk

Katharine Guiles Ellis
Front Range Community College, Boulder County Campus
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This activity was selected for the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Collection

Resources in this top level collection a) must have scored Exemplary or Very Good in all five review categories, and must also rate as “Exemplary” in at least three of the five categories. The five categories included in the peer review process are

  • Scientific Accuracy
  • Alignment of Learning Goals, Activities, and Assessments
  • Pedagogic Effectiveness
  • Robustness (usability and dependability of all components)
  • Completeness of the ActivitySheet web page

For more information about the peer review process itself, please see http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/review.html.

This page first made public: May 8, 2009


This is a cooperative learning activity using the Gallery Walk Strategy (strategy from the Starting Point Gallery Walk web pages) to enrich student understanding of the complex nature of solving our nation's energy needs.

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This activity can be used in Environmental or Physical Geology courses for majors or non-majors. It could also be used in a high school environmental science class.

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

Students will need to already know concepts of sustainability, fossil fuel extraction, and have some introductory knowledge of the role of carbon dioxide in climate change.

How the activity is situated in the course

This could be a stand alone exercise, but I used it more than halfway through the course, once I knew my students' strengths and areas of interest.


Content/concepts goals for this activity

By the end of the learning cycle, students will be able to:

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

Other skills goals for this activity

Description of the activity/assignment

Each student has been given a packet of information on an energy topic. There are two articles that all the students will receive, on energy conservation and addiction to oil, and then several others on their specific topic. Each student will be instructed to become the classroom expert on their specific topic by reading the articles and being invited to look up more information.

These steps are modified from Step by Step Instructions for Gallery Walk

I learned this technique at a Cutting Edge workshop put on by the National Association of Geoscience Teachers called Designing Innovative and Effective Geoscience Courses in the summer of 2008.

The steps to this lesson are:
  1. I have generated a list of questions around energy.
  2. The questions will be written on poster-sized paper, one question to each sheet.
  3. The questions will be posted in a foyer area.
  4. The students have been given general directions in the previous class, and more specific directions will be given the day of the event.
  5. The students have been prepared by reading packets of energy information, as described above in this document. They have also been advised on how the grading rubric and feedback will be used.
  6. The students will be put into groups of two, because the class is so small. Each group will have a different colored marker. If the groups were larger, roles would be assigned, like recorder, speaker, emissary, etc... That won't work with this small class.
  7. We will begin the gallery walk. Each team will start at a different chart, read the question, talk to each other, then document their response in their colored ink. They will be encouraged to write in a pithy bulleted format closest to the top of the chart.
  8. The teams will rotate to a new station after a period of time (to be determined!) They will rotate clockwise. Arriving at a new station, the students will read the question, the responses of the other groups who posted before them, and add their comments, sort of like a BLOG. The groups can switch recorders at each station to keep all members involved.
  9. I will monitor the students' progress. I may have to intervene to clarify a point or direct the students to think of something they may have overlooked. I will wander between groups, listening in, and asking "Socratic" guiding questions if needed.
  10. Once all groups have responded to all the posters, they can return to posters to read the other postings, and even add to their own comments.
  11. After the rotations and comment period, students will "report out", which each group synthesizes the comments for each question into a summary. The groups will then take turns making oral reports on the questions at hand. I may decide to have them do a written report instead, so that they create a document to refer to later in the course.
  12. I will be gauging student understanding throughout the report stage, to reinforce correctly expressed concepts and correct for errors or misconceptions.

The questions my students had to answer were:

Determining whether students have met the goals

Students will create a report from the experience during the report out stage of the lesson. The students will also be given an essay question on the final exam that addresses some of the questions from this activity. Students will evaluate themselves and their partner on being prepared for this lesson.

More information about assessment tools and techniques.

Download teaching materials and tips

Other Materials

Supporting references/URLs

Step by Step Instructions for Gallery Walks
Why Use the Gallery Walk Method?
Assessing Gallery Walks

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