Speed Dating

Chris and I were sharing successes and struggles yesterday with respect to guiding question development. I noted that I was seeing mixed results with my self-explanation and mash-up exercises. We have some good problems (20 minutes or more per student) and the usual (superficial treatment of the material).

My seminars are conducting After-Action Reviews to identify areas for improvement, but overall my students (even the ones not at the board) appear to be learning with each encounter.

Chris shared that he met with great success using a “speed dating” technique.  If you are looking for an activity that at once creates energy and encourages learning, give it a try!

Here’s how he described it:

“On Friday, I told my students they would be engaged in a process to improve their early stage guiding questions. The process would be like speed dating.

  • Students would come in with some notion of a guiding question
  • Class would be divided into two groups
  • Students would face another student.
  • For two minutes, the student would discuss their guiding question and field questions, comments, etc. about the question.
  • After two minutes, the students switched who was talking about the guiding question
  • After that, students rotated to talk to another student

Students liked:

  • Talking to other students
  • Getting additional perspective
  • Sharpening their question (several students revised their question as a function of this process)
  • Getting practice describing their question

As an example as to why this practice seemed to be good, consider a student who had the general question of eating high quality, healthy food. He was convinced that his question was “why can’t we all eat high quality food”? And his answer was that it was too expensive. Thus, he wanted to see how he could manage to help us understand that lowering costs of high quality food might help. But, his question changed as a result of these conversations as he realized that the costs might not be as high as he thought because if people eat high quality food, they might be healthier, and have lower health related costs. Thus, the costs might be lower, and people might be healthier.

Students in general began to morph their questions as a function of the conversation. This is a great way to get them ready for the poster session.”

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