Travel Grant 2015-16: Heather Tarleton

Heather Tarleton, Health & Human Sciences

Reacting to the Past 15th Annual Faculty Institute
June 11-14, 2015
Barnard College
New York City, NY

Nature/Type of the Event

The 15th Annual Reacting to the Past Faculty Institute brought together faculty instructors from national and international institutions to learn about and participate in historical games. The games are designed to facilitate engaged learning in the classroom by assigning students to roles informed by assigned readings. The pedagogical goal is to also develop writing and speaking skills among students and to promote information literacy through research assignments that support the roles assigned for the games.

Travel Report

As a professor of Health & Human Sciences, I participated in two games:

  • Charles Darwin, the Copley Medal and the Rise of Naturalism, 1861-64
  • Challenging the Food Pyramid - A Reacting to the Past Simulation Game for Chemistry and Nutrition Courses

I enjoyed participating in both games and plan to adapt the "Food Pyramid" game for use when I teach "Nutrition" and for my course on "Obesity and Behavior". The games have shown me how to introduce history and science policy into a science classroom, without sacrificing the time needed to cover content. I think the interactive nature of the games will also motivate students more organically toward critical thinking. At the conference, I met STEM faculty who were able to point me in the direction of additional games that would be useful for my courses in "Public Health" and "Epidemiology". I hope to spend the next couple of years testing out these additional games listed below to see which are most relevant to achieving my course objectives:

  • Ways and Means -1935 - Development of the Social Security System - for quantitative literacy, statistics, and actuarial course
  • Feeding Africa 2002 - GM Foods or Starvation - for chemistry, environmental,biology, and general science courses
  • Diet and the Killer Diseases - McGovern Hearings 1977 - for general science, nutrition, and health courses
  • London 1854: Cesspits, Cholera and Conflict over the Broad Street Pump - for general science, biology, and history of science courses

In summary, I think that the games could be extremely useful at LMU, especially for faculty teaching in STEM fields. The games will most certainly increase student engagement but I believe that they will help address some STEM faculty concerns about offering courses that cover the writing, information literacy, and oral presentation flags for our science students within their majors.