Are you smarter than a dog?

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Leighann Leonard

 Classical and Operant Conditioning: Are you smarter than a dog?


Before: Watch this TEDEd video on the differences between Classical and Operant conditioning.

Also, have students read the chapter on learning in their textbooks.


Entrance ticket: From the TEDEd video, write one paragraph demonstrating the differences between Classical and Operant conditioning. Students must have their paragraphs typed before entering class.


Introduction: The TEDEd video will facilitate the chapter on learning and behaviorism by explaining the principles of operant and classical conditioning. I use the clip from the Big Bang Theory where Sheldon is attempting to use operant conditioning to change Penny’s behavior.




During: Discuss the infographic.


Then I show the Pavlov dog experiment.


Pavlov Dog game experiment


I then use the Pavlov dog experiment game to illustrate the principles of classical and operant conditioning using stimulus and response strategies. The goal from the game is to get the dog to drool on command.


Video: I plan on using this video from the Big Bang Theory.


Big Bang Theory clip on shaping

Interactive Engagement Strategies:   Class discussion on learning classical and operant conditioning.

Class discussion on other visual mediums that can illustrate these behavioral concepts.


What I do if the internet goes down:

First, I will download the videos onto my USB drive so I have them.

Read from my notes and show powerpoints.

Discuss real world applications of the psychological constructs. Example: how to get over a fear or phobia.


Encourage students to search for other videos on their computers, phones, or other electronic devices that demonstrate these psychological concepts from movies, sit coms and other TV shows, to news broadcasts and popular media.


Exit ticket: in a group, think/share/pair, illustrate the use of behaviorism on learning and apply it to real world applications. The students should come up with a story or anecdote to use as an example and present it in class.


Teach me/ask me: write down something interesting you learned in class on a posted note or a question you would like me to answer for the next class.


After class:


Writing Prompt: the students write a short paper in APA style of 2-3 pages illustrating the concept of operant and classical conditioning. The student will analyze a video or movie illustrating these principles. The paper will be submitted in Blackboard.


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