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Literature circles as active learning packets for use in the natural sciences: Transforming traditional supplemental instruction into guided study

At Paul Smith's College, we have worked to transform the model of weekly SI (supplemental instruction) into GSG (Guided Study) for General Ecology (Bio 210). We modified literature circle worksheets based off of the work of Harvey Daniels to be used in the natural sciences. We then created a step-by-step instructional framework to implement literature circles in the natural sciences. This includes small groups of students actively engaging with their class notes and the text to answer questions in a set of worksheets that are organized along a hierarchy of Bloom's taxonomy (from recognize to recall, describe, to apply). These guided study packets can be easily adapted for use in courses that offer supplemental help, or can be used in the classroom as an active learning activity. Here we share the model along with the results following the implementation of GSG into the General Ecology course at Paul Smith’s College.
Associated files
Primary or BEN resource type
Secondary resource type
Discipline Specific Core Concepts
Life science discipline (subject)
Keywords Active Learning, Group Study
Intended End User Role
Educational Language
Pedagogical Use Category
Pedagogical Use Description Guided study packets were created for a preview and review of a chapter or unit covered in lecture. Students complete their assigned part of the guided study packet while the guided study leader assists guides students. At the end of the session, students lead a discussion on what they learned facilitated by the guided study leader.
Uniqueness Literature circle worksheets created by Harvey Daniels have been used in classrooms to help students in typical reading classes. However, we modified these worksheets to be used in the natural sciences. Specifically, we created preview and review packets that can be completed by students to increase comprehension of course material. We then share some results of student performance after guided study was implemented in the General Ecology course at Paul Smith's College.
Aggregation Level
Full Name of Primary Author Jonathan Stetler
Primary Author Affiliation Paul Smith's College, Paul Smiths, NY

Current Institution: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY
Primary Author email
Secondary Author Name(s) Celia Evans, Courtney Bringley
Secondary Author Affiliation(s) Paul Smith's College, Paul Smiths, NY
Secondary Author Email(s),
Added By Id
  • jtstetler
Submitter Name Jonathan Stetler
Submitter Email
Rights N/A
Review type
Drought and Water Ecosystem Services Collection Off
Conservation Targets Under Global Change Collection Off
Big Data Collection Off
Editors Choice No
Resource Status
Date Of Record Submission 2017-11-09
I Agree to EcoEdDL's Copyright Policy & Terms of Use No
Date Of Record Release 2018-02-01 14:44:36
Last Modified By Id
  • jtstetler
Date Last Modified 2018-04-29 13:27:22
Release Flag Published

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