Journey into the unknown

Later in the semester there is a project called the ‘unknown assignment’. Here, students are given a plate of bacteria along with a case study and asked to identify it and write a report on if their bacterium is causing the mystery disease outlined in the case study. This assignment incorporates learners’ previous experiences as well as includes intrinsic (this is what the doctor did to find out what was causing my illness) and extrinsic motivators (it is worth points). Attribution theory can also be applied to this assignment since if they are successful, they can attribute it to their skills, and if they are not successful, they can attribute it to external circumstances, such as bad test tubes or a bacterium that ‘is not acting correctly’. Surveys of this assignment show that this positively motivates students and make ‘connections’ with everything they have learned.

One thought on “Journey into the unknown

  1. Yes, your comments about the “unknown assignment” heightens their awareness and motivation along with results such as making connections with everything they learned. Often, learning for students is in silos and fragmented when students fail to connect with other ideas connected to other ideas in systems. This is especially true when students simply memorize information, they tend to forget the material quickly, thus they cannot make connections with anything.

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