In-Class Activities and Assessment for the Flipped Classroom

In a flipped classroom students engage with lectures or other materials outside of class to prepare for an active learning experience in the classroom. For a more detailed description of what a flipped classroom is and what in-class activities are possible see CTE Teaching Tips, “Course Design: Planning a Flipped Class” and “Online Activities and Assessment for the Flipped Classroom”.

After the preparation and design of activities for the in-class portion of your class, your primary role will be to monitor, guide, and support the learning process of your students. Students will have varied levels of understanding and comprehension after having completed the out-of-class work. After assessing their understanding in the online environment, you may approach the in-class activities in one of two ways: individual or group-based activities.

Individual activities

Individual activities can be most beneficial and relevant if your students have demonstrated difficulty with understanding the content or material introduced to them out of class. Individual exercises can be used in advance of group ones to help students navigate a “higher-risk” group activity and can be helpful for students who need more individual reflective time to learn.


Time on task: 5 to 10 minutes; Group size: 1 to 2

  • Ideally used to provide immediate feedback to students about concepts learned outside of class
  • iClickers are one method of polling a class, others include asking students to hold up a piece of paper with a letter on it to indicate their answer, or a different coloured piece of paper 
  • In order to determine whether or not students have read and fully understood the out-of-class material, pose multiple-choice questions and poll students to gauge the variance in answers 

Word webs/concept maps

Time on task: 30 to 45 minutes; Group size: 1 to 4

  • Done either individually or collaboratively, concept maps can reinforce concepts learned out of class and build connections between various topics 
  • Students map out how concepts, ideas, or theories are thematically related in a visual manner
  • Any gaps can be useful inspiration for discussions either at a group or class level

Individual problem solving 

Time on task: 5 to 10 minutes; Group size: 1 to 4

  • In-class problem solving activities allow students to tackle problems during class with their peers and the instructor on hand to discuss challenges
  • Ideally used to increase practice time on problem solving and provide immediate feedback to students about misconceptions

Group activities

Group activities are often the goal of the in-class portion of the flipped classroom. Each student will bring their own individual understanding of the content to the lesson, and together, in small groups, they will be able to draw on each other’s knowledge and understanding of the material to forge new understandings and better recall the content.

Group activities for larger class sizes


Time on task: 5 to 15 minutes; Group size: 2

  • Take a central concept presented in the out-of-class material, or a particularly controversial quiz question from a prior assessment, and have students reflect on it individually and then discuss it further
  • Think phase: students work independently and flesh out their thoughts/arguments and may write their thoughts down
  • Pair phase: students discuss their response with a partner
  • Share phase: the instructor elicits responses from all members of the class and begins to engage students in a wider discussion demonstrating the many different perspectives
  • iClickers may be useful in the share phase; instructors may wish to incorporate a peer instruction model

Affinity grouping

Time on task: 30 to 45 minutes; Group size: 3 to 5

  • Students individually write down ideas on a piece of paper and then in a group attempt to classify them while discussing why certain items deserve to be categorized together
  • This activity helps ensure students are on the same page before embarking on a more complicated in-class activity

Team matrix

Time on task: 10 to 20 minutes; Group size: 2

  • When new concepts have been introduced that are quite similar to one another, a team matrix can help parse the most salient features of each concept while differentiating between each
  • Present pairs of students with a list of characteristics that may or may not be shared between concepts and have the students determine which characteristics belong to each (or both) concept(s)
  • Discuss answers with the entire class afterwards to check comprehension

Think-aloud pair problem solving

Time on task: 30 to 45 minutes; Group size: 2

  • Present students with a set of complex problems that require multiple steps to solve
  • Pair up students and ask one student to be the problem solver, who explains their thought process in developing a solution based on what was learned out of class
  • The partner listens to this process and offers suggestions if there are difficulties, or expresses confusion should there be parts that are difficult to understand
  • After the first problem has been solved, ask the students to switch roles and begin again

IF-AT cards

Time on task: 5 to 15 minutes; Group size: 3 to 5

  • IF-AT (Immediate Feedback Assessment Technique) cards function like multiple-choice questions; however, rather than circling a letter or filling in a scantron bubble, a learner scratches the card to reveal the correct answer 
  • This assessment or group work method has two major benefits: it provides immediate feedback to students (so they do not falsely recall an incorrect answer as correct) and can provide opportunities for students to work collaboratively
  • Students begin by answering the list of questions on their own without the use of IF-AT cards
  • Afterwards, students work with a group to answer the same questions, come to a consensus on what they think is the correct answer, and then scratch the card to discover if they are correct
  • If the students are incorrect, they can discuss the question again and make another attempt
  • CTE has sample IF-AT cards for instructors who are interested in trying this technique. Contact your CTE liaison for more information.

Case studies

Time on task: 1 to 2 hours; Group size: 3 to 6

  • Students review a case study concerning a specific, real-life problem or scenario
  • Applying what they learned in the out-of-class portion of the flipped classroom, the group will discuss how they would tackle the problem and what solution they would prepare
  • Each group can then debrief with the rest of the class and present their solution

Group activities for smaller classes

Round robin

Time on task: 5 to 15 minutes; Group size: 4 to 6

  • Small groups of students engage in rudimentary brainstorming
  • Each person is given the opportunity to say one word or phrase surrounding a central concept or topic
  • After that individual has contributed, the next person is given the opportunity to add an additional word or phrase to the list
  • The activity concludes after all members have participated at least once
  • Each group can list four-to-six thoughts as a means of summarizing the topic before proceeding to more in-depth activities

Fishbowl discussion

Time on task: 15 to 20 minutes; Group size: 3 to 5 inside, remaining class outside of circle

  • A small group of students sit in a circle and engage in a peer-mediated discussion (with instructor intervention if necessary)
  • Remaining students sit in a larger circle and watch the discussion, taking notes and critiquing the content and logic of the discussion
  • The outer circle can then discuss the interaction that occurred and provide additional insight into the topic and provide constructive feedback

Three-step interview

Time on task: 15 to 30 minutes; Group size: 2, then 4

  • Students are initially grouped into pairs where each student takes a few minutes to interview the other about the material that was read online
  • Students come up with questions they would like to ask, and after each member in the pair has interviewed the other, the pair summarizes their partner’s responses and then shares them with another pair of students

Role play

Time on task: 15 to 45 minutes; Group size: 2 to 5

  • Role play can be facilitated in class to demonstrate varying perspectives on a topic (such as a controversial topic in the media)
  • Students assume different roles in small groups and act out the parts with the varying perspectives they would have
  • After the role play, conclude with a larger discussion to see what approaches the groups or individual members took

Reaction sheets

Time on task: 30 to 45 minutes; Group size: 4 to 6

  • Choose a number of broader, overarching questions based on out-of-class material 
  • Divide the class into small groups and give each group one of these questions and a large piece of paper to record their responses
  • Each group spends ten minutes to write everything that comes to mind in relation to the topic
  • When the ten minutes is up, each group moves to another table and leaves the paper with the question and their responses on it behind
  • At their new tables, groups review the question and the comments which have already been recorded and add additional comments
  • After each group has added comments to all other groups’ questions, they return to the initial question, review the additional comments provided, and summarize to the entire class
  • This activity is useful  for solidifying the understanding of a special topic or a threshold concept that the entire class needs to understand properly

Dyadic essays

Time on task: 30 to 45 minutes; Group size: 2

  • Students come to class prepared with an essay question they have written concerning the topic or concept learnt online, as well as an ideal response to that question
  • Once in class, students will share their essay question with a partner, who will respond to it
  • Afterwards, each student can discuss his or her response and compare it to an ideal response (prepared by the instructor) and discuss how they differ and how the responses relate to the concept

Critical debate

Time on task: 1 to 2 hours; Group size: 4 to 6, then 8 – 12

  • Choose a controversial topic, and determine what side of the argument the students would be in favor of during the out-of-class task
  • Once in class, separate the students into groups based on their alignment and have them argue for their chosen position
  • Have students in each group choose specific roles in the debate process, and after having sufficient time to prepare an argument (thirty minutes or so), have each group pair up with a group of the opposing viewpoint and engage in a debate
  • Afterwards, synthesize the various points of debate in a larger class discussion (iClickers may be useful here)

Group investigation

Time on task: 1 to 2 hours; Group size: 2 to 5

  • Students should come to class prepared after having read an article for the out-of-class task
  • Once split into groups, students will discuss the article in depth, arguing its findings and their relevance or the general credibility of the article itself
  • This is very similar to a seminar-style course, yet rather than having the instructor as the mediator of the discussion, students have to teach one another and come to agreements
  • Groups may be asked to produce a one-page summary at the end to be reviewed to ensure they understood the article sufficiently


If you would like support applying these tips to your own teaching, CTE staff members are here to help.  View the CTE Support page to find the most relevant staff member to contact. 


The activities in this Teaching Tip have been adapted from:

  • Barkley, E. F., Cross, K. P., & Major, C.H. (2005). Collaborative Learning Techniques. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.


CTE teaching tips

Other resources

teaching tipsThis Creative Commons license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon our work non-commercially, as long as they credit us and indicate if changes were made. Use this citation format: In-class activities and assessment for the flipped classroom. Centre for Teaching Excellence, University of Waterloo.