#8: Fish Bowl

(Paulson & Faust, 2006)

Purpose: To encourage students to offer feedback on course readings or class discussion. It is often more helpful and engaging to get students to provide the answers to their peers.

Procedure: Students are given index cards, and asked to write down one question concerning the course material. They should be directed to ask a question of clarification regarding some aspect of the material which they do not fully understand; or, perhaps you may allow questions concerning the application of course material to practical contexts. At the end of the class period (or, at the beginning of the next class meeting if the question is assigned for homework), students deposit their questions in a fish bowl. The instructor then draws several questions out of the bowl and answers them for the class or asks the class to answer them. This technique may be combined with many other questioning techniques.


Tip: This particular activity is well suited to large scale classrooms. It allows students some anonymity but also provides them with an opportunity to receive feedback from you, in answer to their different questions.