The flipped classroom approach is emerging as a popular option within academic institutions, but many high school teachers remain unaware of the best flipped classroom activities to turn to for the in-person lesson component. Crucially, the activities you choose need to be designed to further understanding, assist with knowledge retention, and help the students to stay engaged with the material.
Read on for more information on five specific flipped classroom activities for high school students or visit the ViewSonic Education page for more classroom insights and innovative EdTech solutions.
A growing number of high school teachers are adopting the flipped classroom model, where students are first introduced to information individually at home before furthering their understanding in the classroom as a group under the guidance of the teacher. But key to the success of this model are effective classroom activities that are age-appropriate and therefore able to assist in meeting learning objectives.
Selecting the right classroom activities is critical to the flipped model as they essentially need to provide the structure that will allow students to build upon what they have already learned, further their understanding, and potentially expose students to new ideas they may not have considered during the self-study phase. At the same time, the lessons need to be interesting, engaging, and genuinely useful from a knowledge retention point of view.
Fortunately, there are plenty of activities that are age-appropriate and applicable for flipped high school classrooms. In this article, we take a closer look at five of the most valuable options available to teachers.
5 Suitable Flipped Classroom Activities for High Schools
For teachers, finding appropriate classroom activities can seem like one of the toughest challenges associated with switching to the flipped classroom model. However, while some adaptation is likely to be required, you will already be familiar with many of the best activities to turn to, including the five outlined in this section:
1. Case Studies
One of the most beneficial flipped classroom activities for high school students involves dividing the class into groups, typically between three and six students, and then giving those groups a case study related to the topic they learned about at home. This can either be a real or fictional scenario, but it should be realistic.
As an article for Edutopia explains, a good case study should ideally present an open-ended problem, with many possible solutions, or with different potential ‘correct’ answers. For high school students, it is best if the case studies are kept relatively short to avoid lesson time being wasted with students re-reading the case study repeatedly.
In the context of the flipped classroom model, case studies can play a valuable role because they encourage students to think about the material they have learned and, just as importantly, apply it to a realistic scenario. It can also help them to better understand precisely why they are learning something and how it will benefit them.
2. Class Discussion
Another basic yet highly effective activity that teachers can turn to within a flipped classroom is a whole class discussion. This should be focused on the topic that students have been learning about at home and should aim to establish precisely how well the topic has been understood while also taking that understanding to the next level.
Using this approach, teachers can guide the discussion so that students share their different opinions and points of view. This can then help reveal some of the nuances that exist within the topic and some of the different opinions and interpretations that may exist in subjects like History and English Literature.
Classroom discussions can take many different forms, from simple and informal discussions to more formal debates and even collective brainstorming sessions. For teachers, it is important that steps are taken to try to ensure all students contribute and remain engaged.
Presentations form an important part of high school education. This is because they help students develop their verbal communication skills and provide valuable experience for students who move into jobs that require the technical and public speaking skills associated with presentations.
This works particularly well as a flipped classroom activity as it means students will need to think critically about the information provided during the self-study phase in order to present confidently on the topic. Conversely, it helps teachers gain a clear idea of how well a student understands the subject being taught.
Depending on the situation – and how much of the lesson a teacher wants to be taken up by the presentations – these can be delivered individually or as part of a group, with the latter providing a good opportunity for group work during the initial learning phase.
4. Quizzes and Games
Quizzes and other similar games can be a great way to make sure lessons within the flipped classroom model remain fun. In fact, research suggests that a class quiz can play a key role in helping to keep students motivated, while they can also potentially help to improve knowledge acquisition and boost overall learning outcomes.
The use of quizzes is also a great way to bring gamification into the classroom, especially if the quiz includes the awarding of points for correct answers and the tracking of a leader board. Aside from helping to make lessons more exciting, quizzes can help to bring out the competitive side of many high school students.
If the topic in question does not necessarily have simple correct answers, the quiz format may not be the best possible option. Nevertheless, the same basic benefits may be achievable through the use of other games. With the effective use of an interactive whiteboard and some creative thinking, the possibilities here are almost endless.
Think-pair-share is a common activity in flipped classroom environments. This is partly because it combines individual and collaborative learning, but also because it offers teachers the opportunity to see how well their students have understood the material they were asked to learn prior to the class.
In terms of the basic approach here, the class should be asked a question – or given a problem – and then asked to spend a period of time thinking about it individually. From there, students are put into pairs, where they can then share their ideas with one another, then eventually with the rest of the class.
An article for the University of Waterloo points out that think-pair-share activities help students to clarify their own thinking by explaining their thoughts to someone else. Sharing their ideas with one other person can also give them the confidence to share with the wider class, while hearing other ideas can further their understanding, too.
With a growing number of schools adopting or encouraging the approach, it is important for teachers to be prepared with a list of appropriate and useful flipped classroom activities. For high school students, these activities should focus on enhancing their understanding of the topics they have been introduced to at home.
The five activities mentioned are all useful for creating situations where ideas can be shared which can help students explore topics in greater depth and question their own findings. As an aside, the activities will also help students work on some important life skills too, such as verbal communication, problem-solving, and the use of technology.
Through the use of discussions, case studies, presentations, and think-pair-share exercises, teachers can assess their students’ level of understanding, while the use of quizzes and other games can help to make lessons more fun, interesting and varied.
For a deeper dive into modern education and the role technology will play, you may be interested in reading Blended Learning in Education 3.0. You can also visit the ViewSonic Education page for more valuable classroom insights and EdTech solutions for the modern class.