Objective: Making your course content relevant for your students

# of participants: Unlimited. With large groups maybe limit the number of students who share in each class session.

Space: Classroom

Estimated time: Minimum 20 minutes or based on the faculty member’s discretion and student engagement in the activity


You can ask students if they had any personal experience with the content of the class. For example, in a class in HSSP, the students were learning about birthing, so we asked the students to find out their birthing stories from their parents. We invited the students to share their stories. One by one they all stepped forward to share the stories they heard from their parents. We asked them to share the challenges and interesting points from their stories. We wrote them on the board. We then asked them to share the challenges from the reading. We asked them to compare the lists. The lists were almost identical. The students had the “aha” moment that they understood that what they were learning happened to them and their classmates. They also saw that what happened to them happened to their peers which made them feel more connected. Finally, we asked them to take a minute to write down something they were birthing (an idea, a project, a thesis) and then write down the challenges for that process. When they shared these challenges we discovered a lot of similarity to the challenges from the birthing process. This allowed the students to connect what they were learning to what they were working on outside of class in other majors, minors, personal or professional experiences.