What are some fun things to do to "fill-up" time in class?

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pernero
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What are some fun things to do to "fill-up" time in class?

Postby pernero » Sun Nov 13, 2011 10:21 pm UTC

I'm a student teacher teaching Physics, Science, and Math. My greatest fear, especially in the Sciences, is that my lessons will run short on time. (ie. in a 70 minute period it will take 50 minutes to complete)

Hypothetically, let's say I'm teaching a Physics lesson based on q = Ne. I would finish the notes/discussion part in about 30 minutes and then ask some questions, which would take 20 minutes. In a 70 minute class, this leaves me with 20 minutes. At this point I feel like I can either go on to the next topic, assign more problems, or just dismiss class early.

XKCD-ers, what are some ways for me to "beef up" my lessons so that they never run short? Or what are some fun, yet educational ways to fill up that time?

One example, which worked reasonably well for me last year, was to end the class with a difficult problem, giving them the rest of the class to work on it, and then picking it up again the next day.

Much appreciated.

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Afif_D
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Re: What are some fun things to do to "fill-up" time in clas

Postby Afif_D » Mon Nov 14, 2011 8:03 am UTC

Fill the last part of the class with conceptual interesting questions that are fun to listen so as to enhance the students conception and get their interest

Like if you teach the students conditional probability, you can ask em," Suppose I toss a coin N times and get a 'head's.. then what is the probability that i get a 'head' in the (N+1)th toss?" This has a simple answer of (1/2) because the events considered in here are independent.. hOwever many will get confused.

You can ask like this questions for science as well..
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Re: What are some fun things to do to "fill-up" time in clas

Postby yurell » Mon Nov 14, 2011 9:03 am UTC

I always enjoyed lectures that ended with demonstrations / experiments. It's always an enjoyable way to end a class, and can help solidify some concepts when you see them in action.
Or you could try to get the class involved — ask people if they can think of examples of what they were taught or, in the case of science, get them to break off into groups to see if they can think of a way to test the theory, since critical reasoning is so important.

Instead of just tacking something else on at the end, though, you can make the class longer. Including youtube videos demonstrating the concepts is useful, or computer programs you wrote for demonstrating purposes. My lecturers in university have a habit of asking people questions in class for how to do things that require something that has been taught previously and I'm sure this can be extended to high school. I might add that to some people not answering is preferable to giving the right answer, so some sort of bribe in the form of a jelly bean might be necessary just to provoke an answer. The point is that it required us to be paying attention so that we knew it the entire year, instead of a last-minute cramming session.
My first year lecturer for physics (Paul Francis — credit where credit is due) let every student gather in groups of three and each group was given a clicker. In class, he would put up multiple-choice questions, and try to get the class to figure it out and input it in their clickers. We got full marks for just answering, but the important part is that it forced us to discuss things.

There's always the option of letting them out those twenty minutes early as a class-reward for doing X, but I'd be very hesitant to do this as it could harbour resentment for students who aren't as quick, have problems at home etc.

To be honest, I found learnt most things when doing homework anyway, so it may be a good time to assign the homework, go through some of it and let the students start it in class, allowing them to collaborate while you're still around to answer questions, and those that choose to waste the time given simply have more left to do at home.
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Re: What are some fun things to do to "fill-up" time in clas

Postby BlackSails » Mon Nov 14, 2011 4:30 pm UTC

Afif_D wrote:
Like if you teach the students conditional probability, you can ask em," Suppose I toss a coin N times and get a 'head's.. then what is the probability that i get a 'head' in the (N+1)th toss?" This has a simple answer of (1/2) because the events considered in here are independent.. hOwever many will get confused.


You can do math and not get 1/2. You just need a prior probability of a coin being fair. For instance, if you got a million heads in a row, and someone asked "what is the probability of 1 more heads?", you would say "This coin is not fair, it lands on heads with probability 1."

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Re: What are some fun things to do to "fill-up" time in clas

Postby Yakk » Mon Nov 14, 2011 6:52 pm UTC

That is because you lack moral certainty in the fairness of the coin. I mean, you think there is at least a 1 in 1 followed by three hundred thousand zeros chance that the coin is biased!

Back in my day, if we where told a coin was fair in a problem, we believed it.
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Re: What are some fun things to do to "fill-up" time in clas

Postby PossibleSloth » Mon Nov 14, 2011 7:35 pm UTC

You might find this interesting. It's a story about some physics professors experimenting with alternative teaching strategies to help students with retention and understanding.

Have them work some problems in class. Let them work together and let the students that understand the concepts explain to the ones who are having trouble.

And experiments are always fun :)

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Re: What are some fun things to do to "fill-up" time in clas

Postby Arkham » Fri Nov 18, 2011 5:57 pm UTC

I loved doing science experiments in physics classes.

I hated writing up the (highly detailed) lab reports after

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Re: What are some fun things to do to "fill-up" time in clas

Postby big boss » Sat Nov 19, 2011 2:51 am UTC

I came to this thread because I though it was about how students do anything but take notes in class (like check facebook, or sporcle)... Not what teachers do to fill up class time. LAME :D
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Re: What are some fun things to do to "fill-up" time in clas

Postby eternauta3k » Sun Nov 20, 2011 3:25 pm UTC

Last term I really enjoyed how my prof finished teaching around 20 minutes before the class ended. We would then talk about working as a physicist, what we should know/look out for later on in our studies, what he was working on... Also questions about class material. Talking to him as a physicist instead of a professor was invaluable.
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Re: What are some fun things to do to "fill-up" time in clas

Postby Cleverbeans » Wed Nov 23, 2011 3:42 am UTC

Could always try out the Moore Method which has the advantage of being able to fill arbitrary blocks of time.
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Re: What are some fun things to do to "fill-up" time in clas

Postby yurell » Wed Nov 23, 2011 4:39 am UTC

In my experience that's a good way to get a lot of people to skip class.
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Re: What are some fun things to do to "fill-up" time in clas

Postby Euler » Thu Nov 24, 2011 4:20 am UTC

Let the students who enjoy an intellectual challenge play chess.
This is a great intellectual stimulant, and a lot of your students may appreciate it.
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