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Support a Statement

Using the Support a Statement technique in a large lecture class.
Time and Effort
Instructor Prep Time Medium
Student Activity Time Low
Instructor Response Time Low
Complexity of Activity Low
Room Considerations None


The Support a Statement activity asks students to gather and use evidence provided by the lecture to support a response to a statement provided by the instructor.


Use it when you want...

  • Students to listen to the lecture carefully.
  • Students to think deeper about the content being presented.
  • Student to apply content to a situation or problem.
  • To facilitate better retention of lecture material.

What students will need

  • A smartphone or laptop.


The following workflow is meant as guidance for how you can facilitate a Support a Statement learning activity in a large lecture class.


  • Craft a provocative statement related to your lecture notes. It should capture students' attention and interest. The statement should be a conclusion, an inference, an opinion, or a theory. 
  • Review your lecture notes and ensure that there are sufficient details and examples for students to draw upon to support the statement. If not, create a different statement or add examples to the lecture.
  • Create a slide or handout with the statement for students to use.
  • Create an anonymous Top Hat question for students to submit their results.

Example Top Hat Discussion Type

Write a response to the following prompt. Back up your response with evidence presented in the lecture and through your readings. Limit your response to a few sentences one paragraph. You will have 10 minutes to work formulate and submit your response.

Prompt: Do the benefits of pesticides outweigh the risks they introduce to soil health? 


  • Tell students that while they take notes on the lecture they should focus particular attention because they will need to draw on their notes to prepare an answer to a statement you will present.
  • Present lecture.
  • At the end of the lecture, present your statement to which students will respond. Share the intended purpose of this activity and the amount of time they will have to complete it. Let students decide whether they want to work independently or in pairs to create their responses. Share an example response to the statement.
  • Provide students time to find evidence in their notes to support the statement.  Give them a specific amount of time to work (ex. 5-8 minutes).
  • Ask students to organize their responses in an organized list. Students or pairs can submit responses via a Top Hat question.
  • Ask for volunteers to present their supporting evidence.
  • Respond to statements. Provide support for perspectives that are shared. 
  • Communicate your expectations for the responses.


  • Have the teaching assistant review the full list of responses and summarize them at the beginning of the next lecture or in Canvas.

Accessibility and Room Considerations

  • None

Technical Documentation


Example 1

A Geography course has students learn about the influence of politics on political decisions on ecology. The professor wrote the following statement: "Political actions taken by a president of a major country can influence the world's environment." She announced the activity to the class and suggested that they would need to take good notes to complete the assignment. She then gave a lecture on the implications of politics on the environment. She paused occasionally during the lecture to ensure that students had the time they needed to craft good notes. She then presented her statement on the screen and asked students to present evidence to support it. She hoped to see responses about bomb testing, armies, and even executive actions influencing climate. At the completion of the assignment, she was pleased to see that it resonated with students (Barkley 310).

Example 2

The Energy and the Environment course focuses on energy and energy sources. The professor decided to use the Support a Statement technique as an in-class active learning activity in an attempt to make her lectures more engaging. After a lecture on energy efficiency, the professor offered the following statement: "Efficiency is a clear, cost-effective, and local fuel source." The professor asks groups of three to use their notes and memories of the lecture to create a list of arguments for and against the claim. The instructor then asks volunteers to present arguments for and then against the claim. The professor was pleased by the quality of the arguments and the level of student engagement (Barkley 210).


Barkley, E. F., & Major, C. H. (2018). Interactive lecturing: A handbook for college faculty. John Wiley & Sons, 309-312.

Keywordsevidence, listening, note taking, reflection, response, lecture, problem, large course, large lecture, large enrollment, pedagogy, lecture hall, large classroomDoc ID128264
OwnerTimmo D.GroupInstructional Resources
Created2023-05-12 09:46 CSTUpdated2023-08-16 08:55 CST
SitesCenter for Teaching, Learning & Mentoring
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