Does the activity accomplish worthwhile curricular goals? Does it focus
on important primary objectives and not just constitute "busy work"?
Appropriate Level of Difficulty
Does the activity fall within students' range of ability? Does it challenge
the students and help them learn, but not confuse or frustrate them?
Is the activity feasible given the constraints under which learning
usually takes place, such as space, equipment, time, and types of students?
Do the (geography) learning benefits justify the anticipated costs
for both students and instructor in time and effort?
Does the activity accomplish several goals? Does it ask students to
use skills of critical and creative thinking, inquiry, problem solving,
and decision making in applying knowledge? Does it involve students in
activities connected with real life?
Motivational and Affective Value
Is the activity enjoyable, meaningful, and worthwhile? Does it motivate
students to reassess their behavior and activities and to alter it?
Does the activity focus on powerful ideas that are central to the course
being taught? Does it represent new and progressive approaches to the concepts
Do the activities encompass whole tasks, do they hold together as a
set, and build toward major goals, not simply give students opportunities
to practice a part of an idea or skill?
Does the activity challenge students to interpret, analyze, and use
information in response to a question or a problem?
Can the activity be adapted to students' individual differences, interests,
and abilities? Can it be adapted to a variety of teaching and learning
||Unless the course you are teaching has a specialized theme
or goal that predetermines specific resources, activities and skills, you
may want to consider the following aspects of variety and balance in putting
together your course:
Variety and Balance of Resources
What media are you employing? Plan ahead to vary the resources used
over the course of the semester: lecture, text, journal articles, newspaper
clippings, map and graphical material, fictional material, video, film,
slides, computer-based resources, etc.
Variety and Balance of Activities
What do you do in your classroom? What do students do at home? Alter
the types of activities in class and outside. Students should work alone
and in groups. Some activities are longer, others shorter. Discussions
in groups or panels, brainstorming, role play, team work to produce a script,
an exhibit, conducting interviews, designing a brochure or a poster, writing
essays or op-eds, etc.
Variety and Balance of Skills
At the end of the year, what do you want your students to be able to
do? Should they be able to write solid papers, prepare graphics, read maps,
interpret statistical data, think critically, communicate effectively,
work in teams, be critical and aware citizens, know the basic approaches
to a problem, or any combination of the above and more?
Thanks to Sarah Bednarz, Texas A&M University, who contributed
most of the information in this section.