The constructivist activities:

I am always keen to complement my teaching methods with activities that aim to ensure students engagement with the material and allow them to think deeply, reflect and search for knowledge independently. Here you will two examples of activities I am using currently with my students:

  1. I am the Pathogen: this activity involves a student standing in front of his colleagues representing a microbial pathogen. He needs to describe its microscopic morphology, habitat, culture characteristics and the symptoms of the diseases it can cause. Next, other students suggest diagnostic tests and he provides answers (the test results). Finally, the student that comes to the final diagnosis first (name the species) is the winner. This activity was highly successful since it engaged the students with the material and the course objectives. I am sure that this was very effective in building students’ motivation to learn more. That is, It made them love microbiology and provided an opportunity for long lasting memories.

 

  1. The Community versus Infectious Enemies: This activity was more engaging because it encouraged the students to find a community-associated infectious disease in Saudi Arabia, ideally within their own city, then discuss methods to control or eradicate it after introducing its causes, impact and costs on the community. This activity was also a successful, but was limited to the students’ prior experiences and general knowledge, or their desire to search for information outside the course material. This made this activity more eye-opening for the students, but more difficult than the “I am the Pathogen” activity. Because the required information for the “I am the Pathogen” activity was available to the students without any need to search for information from sources other than the textbook. This activity was more constructivist. That is, the students needed to search for information and build their own understanding and figure out solutions that are tailored to the situation and the local community. 

 

Please share your thoughts and wait for more details to come. Cheers.. 

2 comments on “The constructivist activities:

  1. Two innovative activities and introducing an element of competition is always motivating for students. How did students respond to the second activity?

  2. The students saw the second activity as time-consuming and wanted to find other activities that are less time consuming. They always asked me about how to find information and said it was difficult to find it.. I thought their feedback was normal and indicated that the activity was working, and challenging them enough to learn new skills and relevant information. That is, they are learning the importance of finding information independently for the benefit of their own communities. In the end, I felt they learned valuable lessons and skills for their futures. Many of them saw that this activity was difficult but they enjoyed its fruits at the end.

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