Misadventures of a Flipped Classroom: Inflate-A-Date

A message from ComCom member Mia Ray, Assistant Professor of Biology at Trinity Washington University in Washington DC.
A message from ComCom member Mia Ray, Assistant Professor of Biology at Trinity Washington University in Washington DC.

Imagine walking into a store and asking the salesclerk if they wouldn’t mind directing you to their section of blow up dolls. That’s the exact situation I found myself in after following through with my first of many crazy active learning ideas. It was important to find just the right tool to kick off my first attempt at flipping, the criterion was specific: it couldn’t be offensive whatsoever. As I perused the merchandise I spotted exactly what I was looking for: Sensational Inflatables.

I began the class by reviewing important anatomical terminology. After a 15 minute lecture I then instructed students to get into two groups of three. Each group was then given 10 minutes to inflate their female or male specimen and label each anatomical region using appropriate terminology with provided sticky notes. In addition to their notes, students were also allowed to use their textbooks. Students energetically popped open their “person” and got to work.

Inflatable human specimens...
Inflatable human specimens…! Brilliant!

To determine the winner, the class and I went through each region label by label. There were several duplications and cavities, but when all was said and done, there was a clear winner. Each group member was given a prize for winning, but the greatest accomplishment was that they were all engaged and learning.

To conclude the activity I gave students a formative assessment to measure student learning and everyone received a passing grade of 65% or better, with three receiving perfect scores. This success carried over to a summative assessment completed two weeks later where four students showed retention of information based on two receiving perfect scores and two showed an improvement to their original scores. Two students however showed a decrease from their previous grade, which gives me something to improve upon. Although it was a little wacky and unconventional and didn’t result in a total class improvement in student learning, I think it was a great way to begin the semester. Overall this experience hasn’t frightened me away from flipping; rather I’m charging ahead and giving it my all.

One thought on “Misadventures of a Flipped Classroom: Inflate-A-Date

  1. Hi Mia, that is definitely a great “warm-up”! What kind of prizes did you give? Also, what sort of assessment did you use?

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