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Active Learning with Game Show Helps Class Prep for Final

Freshman college courses are typically large, lecture format classes and highly competitive, so Ruth Sherman, research associate in the Dept. of Natural Resources Dept. at Cornell University set out to add active learning techniques with a game show-style review that helped students relax, learn and prepare for their final exam.

"Using the game show is one tool that allows us to change the structure and format of the course," she said in a 2002 case study interview.

Attentiveness and class participation were both increased. "Everyone gets involved. The students work in teams to answer the questions so there is a constant dialogue between them."

The class splits up into 4 teams and competes in a Game Show Presenter quiz that mixes course material questions with silly questions. "We continually try to surprise the students and the game show was very effective in that regard," she said.

"The quiz show gets the students very engaged and they learn the course material, but in a fun atmosphere. Also, it gives the students an idea as to the types of questions that will appear on the exam. We also had prizes (candy) for the winning team so there was some incentive to do well, but it was a fun competition."

Sherman noted that attentiveness and class participation were both increased by the active learning experience. "Everyone gets involved. The students work in teams to answer the questions, so there is a constant dialogue between them."

"I think humor is very effective and we use it as much as possible in our teaching," she said. "Interactive entertainment is one tool that I think works well as long as it is not over-used."

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