Teaching Tactics


College level: Hand out 3 laser pointers, ask the first 3 students to point out a feature on the screen.  Did they reach a consensus?  Talk about confusion, how to pick them out next time.  Ask the students to pass the laser to someone near them, change the slide and repeat the activity until most students had a chance.  Students will each have at least 1 opportunity to point out a feature on the screen (good for identifying glacial features / ice flow direction).  This ‘ups the stakes’, they have to pay attention because they don’t want to look foolish, and everyone is paying attention to see if the laser pointers will point out the same feature they would if they had the pointer.  It’s awesome!


Have students write a story using 5 of their vocabulary words, showing that they understand the meaning of the word and how to use if properly in context.  One student wrote one so good, I hope we can turn it into a museum activity or book some day.


Instead of just telling the class that earthquakes are dangerous, why not have them break into new groups and create a short skit or cartoon that gets the point across (this is way more fun and memorable than having the professor tell them about hazards).


At the end of every exam, I offer 1 point for a climate/geology related cartoon, 2 points if it is the funniest one in the class.  Not only does this get them to be a bit nerdy, it makes grading the exams way more rewarding.


Students falling asleep?  Winter heating kick in a little too early?  Take the students outside, ask them to talk about their experiences with geologic hazards/climate/observations.