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Information Literacy Program at Decker Library

A toolkit for MICA's Information Literacy Program

Active Learning Activities

Pink magnet letters on a white background
Image: Pink magnet letters scattered on a white background. Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash

A brief list of classroom activities that employ active learning:

Give One-Get One

This is a cocktail-style activity in which students need to get out of their seats and collaborate with other students to generate as many ideas about a topic as possible.  Students fold a piece of blank paper into 9 squares.  In the first 3 squares (top row), students write one idea per each square.  Then they are instructed to mingle and share ideas with other students.  For each student they speak with, they get one idea and add it to their paper while their partner chooses one of theirs.  Then they find another partner until all 9 squares has an idea.

Cooperative Learning

This works best in groups of 3.  Each student gets a number and a letter (A1, A2, A3, B1, B2, B3, C1, C2, C3 for a class of 9 students for example).  All of the As meet together and are given a task to do or a problem to solve.  When the groups have completed the initial activity, they are instructed to form groups based on their numbers, such as all of the 1s meeting together.  The new groups are given a task that involves information that each member learned from their previous lettered group.  The letter groups become a subject matter expert on their first task.

Find Someone who

This activity is also done cocktail-style with students standing and mingling.  You give them a worksheet with questions, and they need to find a student in the class that fulfills each question on the worksheet. 

___________________________ has a journal that is published quarterly.

___________________________ has a book that includes images of Grecian urns.

Post-it Brainstorm:  Concept Maps

Each student receives several Post-it notes.  On the white board, students write their concept map.  Each student writes an idea that could be added to each concept map.


Introduce the students to a topic. Give them a moment to think and record those thoughts on a post-it note, then break the students off into pairs. Finally, the pairs share with the entire group.

*Many thanks to Elizabeth Wagenheim for this list!

Check out this excellent worksheet from the University of Michigan on how to incorporate active learning into your classroom.

Decker Library at the Maryland Institute College of Art | Location: 1401 W. Mount Royal Ave., Baltimore, MD 21217 | Mailing: 1300 W. Mount Royal Ave., Baltimore, MD 21217

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