A Group Exercise from my Intro class

I meant to post this two months ago: my 20 intro students do a group-work exercise in which they split into three teams. The goal was to most accurately depict what is going on when we perceive, according to the theory of Russell’s Problems Chapters 1-3. So they needed to depict:

  1. A perceiving subject
  2. A physical object causing a perception
  3. A sense-datum that is the object of perception

The idea was to have them get a handle, visually, on the appearance-reality distinction in Russell’s view, and to compare the appearance (sense-datum) with the reality (physical object) in that theory.

Then, after each group worked, they drew their team’s picture of Russell’s account. Then the other teams got to critique their competitor’s picture. The winning team got donuts! So not only did they get an incentive to talk to each other, but they got an incentive to critically compare the text with their competitor’s drawing.

The results of this group exercise were terrific. The discussion was student-led and lasted the whole class. I will definitely do this again next semester. As a bonus, I have included the pictures below.

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