Awardee: Irwin Shapiro and Anna Yermakova (FAS)
Summary: Awardees will investigate whether embodied class exercises, relevant to the material being taught, yield greater understanding and retention of this material compared to teaching that relies solely on demonstrations.
Irwin Shapiro and Anna Yermakova (FAS) will investigate the efficacy of a novel approach to teaching science in general-education courses: the use of lessons suffused with embodied learning. Their hypothesis: specific tasks, relevant to the material, which engage the body, will yield greater understanding and retention of material compared to teaching that relies solely on demonstrations.
They will administer three different lessons to a test group and control group – a short lecture, an exercise, and a discussion. The exercise lesson will differ for the treatment group, who will complete an embodied exercise relevant to the material being taught. The total teaching time will be the same for both groups. The research team will administer a pre-test and two post-tests to each group for each of the three lessons and intends to share results with the Harvard community.