The ComPADRE Collections

Types of Demonstrations

Classroom experiments

In many disciplines, there are extensive sets of appropriate classroom experiments that allow students to see concepts in action. These experiments can benefit from the Interactive Lecture Demonstration format. Before taking part in an experiment, students can predict the outcome so that attention will be focused on the main concept to be learned. Reflection after the experiment can help students appraise what was learned and transfer this understanding to other contexts.

Classroom surveys

Survey data from students' own lives can show the application of concepts. Because everyone's data is needed, surveys involve all students. And, because the outcome is not predetermined, surveys create a sense of uncertainty that may be absent in textbook presentations. The Interactive Lecture Demonstration format focuses student attention on the underlying concept, often revealing contradictions between student prediction and what the data actually show.

Data analysis

Analysis using data is most effective if the data show a surprising result. Data analyses can be relatively straight-forward, asking students to graph or otherwise manipulate a given set of data, while more sophisticated data analyses may require students to find data on their own, or to conduct statistical analyses.
Small group work can help students work efficiently. By sharing explanations and calculations with others, students frequently self-correct mathematical and graphing errors that could block successful completion of the assignment. More skilled students who might have been able to complete the work on their own will benefit by explaining their understanding to other students. The cooperative learning research literature recommends instructor-assigned groups of 3 - 5 students with written instructions so that groups work more efficiently, and there is individual accountability for all group members.


Classroom instructors often ask "what if" questions that are then answered by a simulation. [add link here to simulations module when live] The Interactive Demonstration approach can be used to engage students in this analysis, first asking them to make a prediction, including, if possible, a description of their underlying economic model even if it is not well specified. The simulation demonstration then will offer concrete results, prompting the student to revise or make for specific their prior view.