I enjoy using my shiny toys and tech gear, but I never forget that good ol’ printed paper can be a very effective tool. While we all make study guides, outlines, charts, and other traditional aids for our classes, it’s fun to think of other ways to use paper in the classroom.
My A&P I classes have enjoyed the “Muscle Scramble” activity that we use to practice the long sequence of steps that lead to the contraction of a skeletal muscle. After plodding through the steps via PowerPoint and viewing animations, students erroneously believe that they have the story down pat.
To help the class assess the need for a little more work, I use my UNO® cards to divide them into groups of two or three students. Then I hand each group an envelope with sixteen separate steps within the process printed in large font on individual slips of paper. I include a couple of blank strips for overachievers or for groups who wish to add explanatory notes. The groups work to arrange the slips in the proper order.
I always hear a lot of animated conversation during the process as students help one another fill the gaps in their knowledge. After the task is complete, I have each group check another group’s project. More learning occurs then. Finally, I post the entire sequence on BlackBoard for students who want to replicate the activity as a study tool.
This low-cost, recyclable, and apparently effective and enjoyable tool could be adapted for any class that requires students to learn a sequence of events: history, chemistry, math, healthcare, and probably many others. Pleasure is evident as students meet an achievable challenge while becoming part of a group, often sharing a little humor, and ultimately coming away with something of value.
Do you use an activity in your classes that others might adapt? Why not share? It’s easy to comment!