Tony Crider and Megan Squire present at AAC&U conference
Tony Crider, an associate professor of physics, and Megan Squire, an associate professor of computing sciences, led a workshop titled "Reacting to the Past: The Pluto Debate" on March 25 at a conference on Engaged STEM Learning: From Promising to Pervasive Practices.
Co-sponsored by the American Association of University Professors and Project Kaleidoscope, the conference hosted nearly 500 instructors and administrators who wish to broaden student participation and success in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
During their workshop, Crider and Squire guided faculty and administrators through The Pluto Debate, a science education game in which students play the roles of professional astronomers debating the definition of a planet at the American Museum of Natural History in 1999.
The Pluto Debate is one of many new chapter-length Reacting to the Past-style games being developed and assessed as part of a three-year grant from the National Science Foundation. The Reacting to the Past curriculum consists of elaborate games, set in the past, in which students are assigned roles informed by classic texts in the history of ideas.
Class sessions are run entirely by students; instructors advise and guide students and grade their oral and written work. It seeks to draw students into the past, promote engagement with big ideas, and improve intellectual and academic skills.