Engaging Large Lectures with Kinesthetic Learning: Examples from an Introductory Environmental Systems Course

Monday 2:15pm REC Center Large Ice Overlook Room
Oral Presentation Part of Course Design and Interactive Learning


Hillary Hamann, University of Denver
Maintaining student engagement in large, introductory lectures can be a challenge with fixed-seating lecture halls, diverse learners and science content. Incorporating active pedagogies can enhance student learning by helping students to move beyond passive reception of knowledge to exploring and creating knowledge. Most of the active learning approaches for large classes described in the literature focus on interactions that are though- or discussion-based, such as the "think-pair-share" model. While these are effective, including kinesthetic (tactile and movement-based) activities in the active learning repertoire provides additional engagement for a broader range of learning styles and targets students' kinesthetic intelligences. When included in undergraduate earth science education, tactile learning may be relegated to laboratories or smaller classes. Here I present a suite of kinesthetic exercises to help students engage with and understand geoscience concepts in a large, introductory lecture class. Ranging from about 3-15 minutes, students are given the opportunity to physically move and actively simulate processes including: ozone formation/destruction, the effect of greenhouse gases on the energy balance, storm hydrographs, faulting processes, and wave energy. Each of these activities benefits from the large class size and tries to take into consideration the lecture-hall constraints. I evaluate the effectiveness of these activities on student engagement and retention of the targeted concepts, and highlight tips to translate them to your own classes.

Presentation Media

Engaging Large Lectures with Kinesthetic Learning (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 10.3MB Jul13 15)