Support a Statement
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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 to guide how to 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 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 from the lecture and your readings. Limit your response to one paragraph. You will have 10 minutes to 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 this activity's intended purpose and the time they will have to complete it. Let students decide whether 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 specific time to work (e.g., 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
A Geography course has students learn about the influence of politics on political decisions on ecology. The professor wrote: "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 they 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 students had the time to craft good notes. She then presented her statement on the screen and asked students to present supporting evidence. She hoped to see responses about bomb testing, armies, and executive actions influencing climate. After the assignment, she was pleased that it resonated with students (Barkley 310).
The Energy and the Environment course focuses on energy and energy sources. The professor used the Support a Statement technique as an in-class active learning activity to make her lectures more engaging. After a lecture on energy efficiency, the professor said, "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 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.