an archive of lesson plans

Author: Nicolai Diener

DE S22 INT/ADV: Subjunctive & Artistic Freedom (Part 1) [Zoom-class]

Language Resident/Assistant Name:
Nicolai Diener

Class theme/topics discussed:
Konjunktiv & Kunstfreiheit (Teil 1) [Zoom-class]

Goal of the class:
Learn about “Konjunktiv II” (When and how to use it)
Discuss “Kunstfreiheit” (artistic freedom)
Put pictures in relation to “Kunstfreiheit” and discuss their historical context
Compare artistic freedom in Germany and the US
Discuss the content of a music video based on isolated pictures

How did you structure the class?

4.15 – 4.20:        Welcome (Welcoming students to class, talking about how they feel and getting all the technology starting)

4.20 – 4.33:        “Was würdest du machen, wenn…” (Practicing the Konjunktiv II with the “würde”-form, e.g. “What you would do if you were to win a million dollars?” “I would buy an island if…”. Students join breakout rooms and ask each other one of the two questions in groups of 2-3 people. Three rounds with 2 questions each + always different groups)

4.33 – 4.37:        Review Konjunktiv II (short review of when to use and how to use the Konjunktiv II with its two forms. One of them the “würde”-Form, which we practiced in the task before)

4.37 – 4.45:        “Kunstfreiheit” + pictures (The term “Kunstfreiheit“ (artistic freedom) is introduced and students are then asked to look at 4 pictures, describe them, tell the group what is depicted in the pictures (and the context) and then put that in relation to “Kunstfreiheit”. If the students do not know about some of the pictures, the teacher can help them and explain their context. After that we take a quick look at how artistic freedom is embedded in the basic law for Germany)

4.45 – 4.55:        “Kunstfreiheit” experiences (students join breakout rooms first, and then come back to share with the group. They are asked to share their experiences with artistic freedom. Either because something that they themselves were involved, or something they have heard of and that has a relation to artistic freedom

4.55 – 5.00:        “Danger Dan” impression (“Danger Dan” is the name of the musician we are going to hear a song from. The students are asked to share their impressions when hearing the name)

5.00 – 5.05:        Pictures from the song (students see 4 pictures from the music video to the song “Das ist alles von der Kunstfreiheit gedeckt”. They are rather provocative and can be interpreted in different ways and the students are supposed to share their impressions of those pictures, and also what they think the video could be about and what it is supposed to express. Students discuss that in breakout rooms)

5.05 – 5.10:        Watch music video

5.10 – 5.15:        Music video impressions (students share their impressions from the music video and compare it with what they had shared before, when they just saw 4 isolated pictures from the music video)

What technology, media or props did you use? (internet resources, playmobiles, handouts, etc.)

Power Point Presentation
Zoom (+ Breakout rooms)
Pictures & videos (see Power Point Presentation)

What worked well in this class? What did not work (and how could it be improved)?

The introduction worked really well because the students seemed to be really engaged with the questions, as they had a lot of fun thinking about those scenarios and “what they could do, if…”. Also, it was a really good introduction and transition to explaining the Konjunktiv II, which is used a lot by Danger Dan in his song and therefore offers a great grammatical foundation for working with the song later on.

When we looked at the pictures, the students were able to identify most of them and put them in connection to artistic freedom. I chose the pictures because two of them are important pieces in the history of Germany, the Charlie Hebdo-picture is important in the context of contemporary European affairs, and the last one was a fun, little story that is connected to artistic freedom. We took a look at the basic law, and the exchange of their “Kunstfreiheit” experiences was really interesting. Same can be said for talking about the name “Danger Dan” and the pictures from the music video. Finally, we watched the music video and the students shared their impressions. Generally, it was a good mix of learning about current affairs in Germany, pop-culture and Konjunktiv II on the one hand, and sharing their impressions, thoughts and experiences on the other hand.

DE S22 INT/ADV: Subjunctive & Artistic Freedom (Part 2) [Zoom-class]

Language Resident/Assistant Name:
Nicolai Diener

Class theme/topics discussed:
Konjunktiv & Kunstfreiheit (Teil 2) [Zoom-class]

Goal of the class:
Analyze the lyrics of a song (describe in own words/research context/interpret what artist wants to express)
Compare different parts of a song with each other
Discuss differences and possible interpretations
Discuss whether the song “Das ist alles von der Kunstfreiheit gedeckt“ is an example for Kunstfreiheit or Beleidigung (insult)
Discuss whether Böhmermanns „Schmähgedicht“ is an example for Kunstfreiheit or Beleidigung

How did you structure the class?

4.15 – 4.23:        Recap (Recap last class and thereby make a transition to this class’ topic)

4.23 – 4.35:        Group work (students have to get together in 3 groups and analyze the lyrics of one verse based on 3 questions that ask them to describe the lyrics in their own words, research the context of the song and interpret what the artist wants to say and how he writes his song in order to achieve that message. Each group meets in one breakout room, while they have access to the questions and a vocabulary list on our GoogleDoc)

4.35 – 4.55:        Presentation group work (Each group presents their findings according to the 3 questions that were given to them – there is a particular emphasis on finding the Konjunktiv-forms, as they are an important instrument for Danger Dan in his song and also connect to the last class and the grammatical topic)

4.55 – 5.00:        Bridge (We look at the bridge of the song and try to analyze in which ways it is different from the rest of the song and why that is the case)

5.00 – 5.07:        Positionsline + discussion (students have to locate themselves along a position line ranging from Kunstfreiheit to Beleidigung. Based on that they have to discuss their own position)

5.07 – 5.13:        Böhmermann-Affäre introduction + video (Most students probably see the song as an obvious example for Kunstfreiheit, thus I present them a case that could be more critical to evaluate. The so-called “Böhmermann-Affäre” is introduced in a few minutes, and then we watch the video of it)

5.13 – 5.20:        Positionsline + discussion (students are again asked to locate themselves along the same position line and then discuss what led them to their judgements)

What technology, media or props did you use? (internet resources, playmobiles, handouts, etc.)

Power Point Presentation
Google Doc (Questions + vocabulary list)
Zoom (+ Breakout rooms & annotate functions)
Pictures & videos (see Power Point Presentation)
(Jan Boehmermann Erdogan poem)

What worked well in this class? What did not work (and how could it be improved)?

This class worked really well! It was a good conclusion to this 2-class-topic, which connected a song as a cultural element, with an important contemporary topic and a grammatical input. The class had different elements (discussions, group work, interpretations, media consumption etc.), a coherent structure and a few take-home messages.

The addition of a vocabulary list to the group work was very important and ensured efficiency, which allowed for a greater focus on the presentations and the discussions later. In those discussions, the students were really engaged and seemed interested in both the topic as well as the others’ opinions.  The position line worked really well and also as I expected (everybody saying it is Kunstfreiheit), which allowed me to introduce the “Böhmermann-Affäre” as a less clear-cut example for that topic. It is worth mentioning that the class ended about 5 minutes later – which is acceptable considering the complexity of the topic and the importance of the last discussion.

DE S22 INT/ADV: Music & The Voice

Language Resident/Assistant Name:
Nicolai Diener

Class theme/topics discussed:

Goal of the class:
Learn about German music from the last ~25 years
Discuss music by elaborating on what you dis/like about it

How did you structure the class?

The class started of with an Introduction, explaining the rules of the game which focuses on German music. It doesn’t necessarily matter how many different artists you take and which one you focus on – I took 8 artists and tried to have a diverse range of artists (from Herbert Grönemeyer to Nena to Helene Fischer to Rammstein [the latter being rather well known in the U.S., though maybe not so much for their criticism, which can be talked about in class]).

The game works somewhat similar to “The Voice” – the students hear an artist for a maximum of 1 minute (they have the chance to raise their arms when they already know what they want to vote – if every student raises their hand, the song will be stopped before the minute is over – which happened when Rammstein was playing for example) and think about whether they like it and want to give it a vote to get to the next round or whether they dislike and want the artist to be “disqualified”. Then, they have 2 minutes to discuss the artist in the group and then vote on whether they want them to be in the next round or not.

In the first round there are 8 artists, in the second round 5, in the third 3 and then you can go for a winner. In my class I had 7 students, and when one artist had 4 upvotes they got into the next round. But that also means that when the students have already voted 5 artists in the next round before having heard the last ones, they won’t get a chance to go in to the next round (vice versa: if the students have already disqualified 3 artists in the first round before having heard the remaining artists then the remaining ones make it to the next round nevertheless the actual vote).

BUT there is one more rule to make it a bit more interesting: every student gets the name of one artist who bribed them. They get one point by having their candidate win “The Voice” (thereby you have students arguing for one artist who most dislike). Also, to give them something to “do” when “their” artist should have been disqualified in the first round – every student also writes down the name of one artist who they don’t want to win. If that candidate doesn’t win, they also get a point.

Rules for 2 students: For 2 students (in my conversation class intermediate) I slightly changed the rules. The students get 8, 7, 6, 5… points for the first round and can give each point-number to any artist. They listen to the song – they discuss it (which is a point where they can deceive or trick the other student, by saying they really like that artist but then giving only little points) and then they give points: for example student A gives 7 points, student B gives 4 points: artist has 11 points and depending on how many points the other artists get will make it to the next round or not. Student A cannot give 7 points to any other artist in this round, student B cannot give 4 points to any artist in this round.

What technology, media or props did you use? (internet resources, playmobiles, handouts, etc.)

Computer with music + music box
Whiteboard to write down names of songs, voting results and rules

What worked well in this class? What did not work (and how could it be improved)?

Generally, the class worked really well. The students learned about different German singers/bands (which they specifically asked) for and I incorporated that into a game which forced them to discuss and engage with each other, while trying to convince the others from their point of view and being somewhat embedded in the structure of a show that most of them know (“The Voice”).

I did not tell them the names of the singers before they were disqualified to make it more of a challenge for them to decipher which candidate is actually the one that they support (e.g. if their singer-name seems like a female, and there are 3 female singers, they know that one of them has to be their candidate, but they do not really know which one exactly is their candidate) – I’m not sure if this was necessary though and if it might not have been even more engaging when they would know the names right out of the gate.

Other than that I wouldn’t really change anything. The introduction took about 10 minutes, which was fine, because the timing of the rest worked out really well.

Intermediate: The rule change for the intermediate class (with 2 students) worked really well. They were very engaged and tried to deceive each other a lot – which was particularly fun for me, as I always knew why they would say or do something (because I knew who they supported). Great class here as well!

DE S22 INT/ADV: Rap & Poems

Language Resident/Assistant Name:
Nicolai Diener

Class theme/topics discussed:
Rap & Poems

Goal of the class:
Learn about German poems & rap
Create & present your own poems

How did you structure the class?

4.15 – 4.20:        Welcome (Welcoming students to class, talking about how they feel)

4.20 – 4.25:        Introduction to topic (talk about “Gedichte” and rap to introduce to the topic)

4.25 – 4.35:        Rap OR Poem (students receive 8 “texts” of which half are German rap and the other half are German poesy – students have to guess in groups which is which)

4.35 – 4.45:        Rap OR Poem – Solution (solution + discussion)

4.45 – 4.50:        Elfchen – Group/Modelling (teacher and students create an “Elfchen” together)

4.50 – 5.00:        Elfchen + Presentation (students have to create their own “Elfchen” and then present it to the class)

5.00 – 5.10:        Create your poem! (students are put in groups and then have to write down 1 topic and 2 words – they then give that topic and the words to the next group. The next group has to write a poem (at least 4 lines) about the topic that the other group gave them and include the two words that the other group gave them)

5.10 – 5.15:        Poem – Presentation (Students present their poems)

What worked well in this class? What did not work (and how could it be improved)?

The class worked well. Introduction was interesting for the students, as they were very curious to find out which text is rap and which is poem – the solution of that provided funny moments. The “Elfchen” was a nice way to get them going themselves on the poems, and the writing of a 4-liner, where the other group gave them a topic and words to be included provided creative and very funny poems. Well-rounded class without too much hick-hack.

DE S22 INT/ADV: Role Playing

Language Resident/Assistant Name:
Nicolai Diener

Class theme/topics discussed:

Goal of the class:
Communicative practice and fun!
Learn how to have an argument
Learn about basic vocabulary connected to state founding

How did you structure the class?

4.15 – 4.20:        Welcome (Welcoming students to class, talking about how they feel while introducing the topic)

4.20 – 4.45:        Role play (students get a role card and have to discuss the topic on their card with their respective partner. They have about 5 minutes to come to a compromise. After that they draw a new card and thus get a new partner (if more than 4 people), a new role and a new topic to discuss about)

4.45 – 4.50:        Discussion (quick follow-up discussion on how students handled the different situations and what solutions they found)

4.50 – 5.10:        State foundation (students get a worksheet that gives them the task to found a new state)

5.10 – 5.15:        State foundation – Presentation (students present their new state to the other students – after that, students are asked which state they would like to join

What worked well in this class? What did not work (and how could it be improved)?

The class worked really well. The role playing was very communicative and lots of fun – students had to get into new roles all the time, adjust to the situation and the person they are talking to and at the same time trying to find a compromise with a person that has the opposite opinion to theirs. The short discussion afterwards was helpful in order to compare the different solutions – on one hand as an exchange of knowledge, but most importantly to give the students a stage to share their interesting/funny solutions. I decided not to do it after every round in order to give students the chance to experience a new situation without having heard before how another group has solved it.

The state foundation task was a nice addition, even though – for the sake of coherence – it would be nice to find a smooth transition from one task to the other. If not, it’s two really neat tasks – which is also fine.

Students were really creative and came up with “interesting” states – some of the vocabulary might be a bit too complex – but they also did not really have that much time to take a deep dive into all the aspects but should rather focus on a general idea and for that the task was certainly sufficient while giving them the chance to create something creative as a group together. The following presentation gave them the opportunity to present their state and make other people join that state – either because the idea is very funny or because the state seems really promising. Students can certainly take different paths to finding a solution to that task.

DE S22 INT/ADV: Art & Picture Description

Language Resident/Assistant Name:
Nicolai Diener

Class theme/topics discussed:
Art & Picture description

Goal of the class:
Students know locations in/within a picture
Students can describe the location of objects to each other (positions)
Students are able to describe a picture
Students can interpret pictures

How did you structure the class?

4.15 – 4.30:        Warm-Up: Who are what am I? (students get either the name of one person or one object (e.g. painting, building) or the corresponding description to a person or an object. By asking each other questions they have to “get to know each other” and thereby find out whether their role fits the other person’s role)

4.30 – 4.35:        Review: Picture description (short review of important vocabulary when describing pictures and the different directions (e.g. in front of, behind, next to… in the centre/right hand side))

4.35 – 4.50:        Describe & Draw (depending on class size either 1on1 or 1 describing and 2 drawing: one student sits with the back to the board and the other one with the front. Then a picture is faded in so that only the student with the front to the board can see it. That student now has to describe the picture to the other student, and he/she/they has to draw it based on the descriptions of the other student. 5min per turn, then they can look at the board to compare how good the drawing was. Then they switch position, and now the other student has to describe and the other to draw. With 3 students, 2 are drawing and sitting with the back to the front and they make 3 rounds with every one describing at least once)

4.50 – 5.05:        Group work (students can choose between 6 paintings by German artists and then analyze that picture in 3 steps. They have instructions on the power point and are allowed to use their phones)

5.05 – 5.15:        Presentation (each group presents their painting, according to the 3-step-analysis that was given to them)

What worked well in this class? What did not work (and how could it be improved)?

I taught a similar class last semester, but wasn’t really happy with it – thus, I wanted to teach it again with improvements. These improvements have worked really well! The warm-up was a nice way to walk around the room, talk to each other, ask each other questions, while at the same time starting to familiarize with the topic. The “Describe & Draw” is a really well-working, engaging and fun activity. The group work about paintings from German artists was a well-rounded conclusion to this lesson and put it on a higher level than the first time I taught that class. The students were able to learn about German art, had lots of discussions in class and had to present something as well. Thus, I would say that this class worked really well, I was happy about how it worked and wouldn’t really change anything.

One possible modification: instead of giving them pictures, the group work could also work if they choose their own paintings. Upside: more personalized and individualized, but several risks: no sufficient resources (maybe not everyone has a mobile phone/laptop handy), not sure what paintings, no German paintings.  

DE F21 INT/ADV: Bigfoot

Language Resident/Assistant Name:
Nicolai Diener

Class theme/topics discussed:

Goal of the class:
Communicative Practice
Creative Story-telling

How did you structure the class?

4.30 – 4.35:        Welcome & Introduction to “Bigfoot” topic (Talking to students about how they feel and how they have spend their weekend. Let the students explain the story behind “Bigfoot”)

4.35 – 4.45:        Introduction to the worksheet & reading the story (+ review vocabulary)

4.45 – 4.55:        First drawings (students have to draw the “branches breaking” in two boxes and describe what is happening)

4.55 – 5.00:        Present their drawings

5.00 – 5.20:        Groups: Finish the story (students have to get together in groups and brainstorm about how they want to finish the story. Then they draw the story & describe what is happening)

5.20 – 5.30:        Present the story (students present how they finished the story)

What worked well in this class? What did not work?

The class worked really well. No surprise, considering Adan delivered that idea to us! The students had a lot of fun – the beginning was nice, but at the end of the class everybody was laughing, having fun and – most importantly – communicating a lot in German. I tried that class with both my conversation classes (one of them more communicatve, the other a little less) and it worked better with the communicative one, but they also took more time for each activity, so you have to keep that in mind.

What technology, media or props did you use? (internet resources, playmobiles, handouts, etc.)

DE F21 INT/ADV: Advertising

Language Resident/Assistant Name:
Nicolai Diener (credits to Marie Segura “FR SP21 INT/ADV Advertising & Slogans”)

Class theme/topics discussed:
Advertising & Slogans

Goal of the class:
Learn about German brands and “Werbeslogans”
Learn about German commercials
Create your own slogans and ads
Discuss effects & mechanisms of advertising

How did you structure the class?

4.30 – 4.35:        Welcome and Introduction (welcome to students to the class and use the first image of the slide [popcorn] to make a transition to advertising [eating popcorn in the movies during the advertising before the movie])

4.35 – 4.42:        Matching brand & slogan (in pairs: students get 10 german brands and slogans and have to watch them with each other)

4.42 – 4.46:        Matching brand & slogan: solution (teacher offers the solution to the task. I added a competitive element and gave them points for each correct one, and the winner of this task will be allowed to have the first pick of one (or more) of the “Impossible Objects” later)

4.46 – 4.50:        The good slogan (students have to think about and discuss the characteristics of a good slogan. After that the teacher will offer a definition of “Werbeslogan” and based on that either sum up what students have said already or add elements that they might not have thought about)

4.50 – 4.55:        Your own slogan (in pairs: students have to come up with the best possible slogan for an object that they use everyday [2min] – then present it to the others [can be used to come to decision regarding whoever picks the objects first, as in my case the “matching” activity ended with a tie])

4.55 – 5.00:        Advertising (students have to brainstorm aspects that publicists rely on when they want to sell a certain type of product (e.g. food, cars, jewelry etc.))

5.00 – 5.15:        3 German commercials (students see 3 German commercials and while watching have to pay attention to the following questions: “1. What is advertised? 2. Which aspects are emphasized? 3. What do you think of the advertisement? Is it effective? (Who is the target group?)” After each commercial we discuss these questions. Either by putting them in small groups for the discussion, or by putting them in small groups and then using their discussion as a foundation for a class discussion or discuss it in class right away. I would prefer one of the “small group” options, but depending on time the “only class” option could be the best idea.

5.15 – 5.25:        Create your own commercial (students pick on (or more) of the “Impossible Objects) and then have to create a commercial for that object. They obviously don’t have the resources to create a commercial in that short amount of time, so instead they have to focus on the following questions: “1. Which aspects should be emphasized? Who is the target group? 2. What is happening? (+ WHERE does the advertising take place? WHO is playing?) 3. What is the music like? Is there a slogan? Is there a logo?”)

5.25 – 5.30:        Present your ad (students present their ad/commercial)

What worked well in this class? What did not work (and how could it be improved)?
The class worked pretty well – students enjoyed the creative parts, where they had to create their own slogan and then particularly the task in the end, when they had to create their own ad (which was very funny). They also liked the German commercials very much, thought they were funny or gave a good impression of/to German culture. The first task took a bit too much time unfortunately – so I would recommend to either choose less brands/slogans, or maybe discuss the slogans beforehand so everybody has the same knowledge and knows what every slogan means (or could refer to).

Werbung 1:

Werbung 2:

Werbung 3:

DE F21 INT/ADV German Federal Election 2021

Language Resident/Assistant Name:
Nicolai Diener

Class theme/topics discussed:
German Federal Election 2021

Goal of the class:
Learn and discuss about:

  • Political system in Germany
  • Comparison between German political system with U.S.
  • Comparison between Majority voting & proportional representation
  • Key political offices/names/institutions/parties in Germany
  • Distinction between party, fraction and coalition
  • Distinction between German parties

How did you structure the class?

4.30 – 4.40:        “Positionslinie” (Students have to position themselves along a line (“Positionslinie”) which is marked by a check on one side and a cross on the other according to three statements: 1) “I mostly understand what politics is about” 2) I feel that my opinion is well represented in politics 3) “I would go to a demonstration if I didn’t like something in the country”. Depending on where the students stand the teacher tries to collect like 1-2 opinions from students (standing on the extremes/middle/.. trying to involve everyone))

4.40 – 4.45:        Review: Political System USA – groups (the students have to discuss the following points with regard to the political system in the U.S.: “1) Key offices 2) Who votes for whom? 3) How is the winner decided?” They can use the chalkboard for illustrations)

4.45 – 4.50:        Review: Political System USA – plenum (teacher asks students for what they discussed in the groups and collects their input on the chalkboard for illustration purposes + easier comparison to German system)

4.50 – 5.00:        Scheme of key offices/institutions in German political system (students get 6 different parts of one scheme and have to bring them in the correct relation to each other. If too difficult help the students + discuss open questions)

5.00 – 5.05:        Gap text of key offices/institutions in German political system (introduce more/precise vocabulary/offices/institutions and record it with the gap text)

5.05 – 5.10:        Discuss 3 important terms: party, fraction & coalition (“party” and “fraction” important basic terms to understand the political system in Germany, as well as “coalition” – the latter one also allows to transfer to the next point: the comparison between majority voting and proportional representation)

5.10 – 5.20:        Watch Video „Wahlsysteme einfach erklärt“ + Discuss open questions

5.20 – 5.30:        Introduce & Discuss the Parties in Germany (each student gets 1 party – they have to read the short introduction and combined with their own knowledge have to answer the following questions: “1) Who is you party? What positions do they represent? 2) Where would your party position on a left-right-scale (using the same line as in the first task) 3) With which other parties would your party form a coalition?”)

XXX       Campaign issues

What worked well in this class? What did not work?

I knew that this class would be intense and we won’t be able to do all the things that I had planned – nevertheless I am really happy, as we were able to talk about the most important aspects and from my point of view the students were really (!) interested and also understood a lot (!). They were really engaged and worked pretty well on all the assignments, even though they had different degrees of political knowledge. To be honest, I switched to English several times this class – but this was a once a year occasion and it was important to me that they use German as much as possible (and I use German as much as possible in explaining things), but at the same time I really wanted them to take as much knowledge out of that class as possible – even if that meant that I had to switch to English sometimes.
All the assignments worked really well and took about the right amount of time – maybe the first task could have been a little bit shorter, but it was a really nice introduction, had the students walking around in class, discussing, sharing – so I would not necessarily change it as it is a good introduction to the class.
The comparison worked really well – students own knowledge/experience as basis to imagine how the German system could work. The explanations of the “party”, “fraction” and “coalition” terms allowed to have short little excursions to other topics – e.g. differences between the two voting systems. The video was good and worked really well in combination with further explanations by myself. They got to know the parties and what they stand for – the only thing we did not talk about were the campaign issues. But I do not really mind that – as that part is the weakest in my opinion and I will focus my study break on campaign issues. So it is not too bad that we did not do it and instead used the SHORT time for all the other important stuff. The students also asked a lot of questions after the class, left about 5.45 and I could tell them some insights to the German political landscape – all in all I would say that this was certainly a PACKED, but VERY good class.

What technology, media or props did you use? (internet resources, playmobiles, handouts, etc.)

Video : (09/23/2021)

DE F21 INT/ADV Desert Game

Language Resident/Assistant Name:
Nicolai Diener

Class theme/topics discussed:
Desert Game

Goal of the class:
Finding a compromise
Finding the (best possible) solution as a team
Debate & discussion

How did you structure the class?

4.30 – 4.35:        Introduction & Scenario (Welcome students to class and introduce them to the topic “desert game”. Tell them the scenario in a dramatic fashion! [students on a plane/plane crashes/they are all by themselves in the desert and were able to save 15 items, which they have to rate according to their importance for their survival/their ratings will be judged compared to the solution and then reflected)

4.35 – 4.40:        Questions & familiarize with items (Make sure that every student understands the scenario and quickly introduce the 15 items – it is really important that the students know what those items are and if they have no idea what an item could be used for it doesn’t hurt if there is a short exchange about them within the class)

4.40 – 4.48:        Step 1: Work on your own (each student now has 8 minutes to think about the items and rate them from 1 to 15, depending on how important they think a certain item is to survive in this desert scenario)

4.48 – 5.00:        Step 2: Small groups (students are divided into small groups and within those small groups have to discuss the items and then come to a shared solution. It is not allowed for students to have different solutions within the small groups, so they have to discuss with each other and find a compromise together)

5.00 – 5.10:        Step 3: Plenum (students have to come up with a solution for the whole class. As in the step before, they have to come up with a shared solution for everyone – so they have to be able to find a compromise. Depending on the size of the class or the number of small groups there are two ways on how to handle the plenary discussion: a) every group selects one speaker that has to represent and argue for their solution in the whole class, while the others of the small group have to help and assist him with arguments or questions for the others, or b) everybody can speak.

5.10 – 5.20:        Solution (the teacher reads out the solution [find in documents] – students have to compare their own, small group and class solutions with the solution offered by the teacher and calculate the difference to their solutions. While reading out the solution there will be lots of surprises and students want to discuss that. If not you can always ask “Are you surprised by this” or something like that to engage small discussions)

5.20 – 5.30:        Reflection (ask students questions to allow them to reflect on the solution finding process, like: “How did the initial group process go? How did you proceed as a group to find a solution? How did you feel about the discussion in the group? How did you manage to reach a good result? Were all group members equally involved? What was the leadership like? Did a team leader emerge? How were decisions reached?”

What worked well in this class? What did not work (how could that be improved)?

The class worked really well – students were very engaged in the discussion and had a lot of fun thinking about how to survive in this scenario by making best use of the offered items. They were also really surprised by the solution – reading that out might take longer than expected and is a bit much teacher-focused. I really enjoyed that part, how surprised the students were and the discussions that followed that – but maybe there is a better solution, like handing out a handout and then having the groups discuss in small groups again on what they think about the solution. In general, it is important to give them enough time to discuss everything – otherwise they might feel that they were being rushed. But at the same time the class is really tightly scheduled, so it is important to keep an eye on the time.

What technology, media or props did you use? (internet resources, playmobiles, handouts, etc.)

Internet resource (solution and further information : )

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