Experiential Learning Lasts a Lifetime

“Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.”

John 1:3 NIV

Making Learning Memorable

Elementary and secondary students alike will not always remember the lessons you taught them in class, but they will remember the key experiences you gave them. Each year, the elementary school in which I taught takes the fifth-grade class out to a nearby university. Many of these students have never been talked to about college before let alone step foot on a college campus. The students had a blast at the university. We rented out the field house so students could enjoy the pool, basketball, racquetball, and other activities. We ate lunch on the lawn and took a walk around campus to see the different classrooms, and the library had an awesome technology showcase with Virtual Reality simulations and many other sights that the college has to offer.

The conversations that came up during this visit with my small group of students were much more than I would ever get out of them in the classroom. Many left saying, “I want to go to college now. I’m not sure what I want to be yet when I grow up, but I know where I want to go.” That is pretty powerful coming from a 5th-grade student.

Play Outside

Another memorable experience that the 5th-grade had this year was the opportunity to go to a nature day camp. Camp Roger’s day camp campus Camp Scottie was a perfect place for students to learn some survival skills like building a fire and exploring other parts of God’s creation. We also had the chance to participate in a variety of activities that helped build relationships and critical thinking skills. These team-building activities were challenging and fun for all of our students.

Other Benefits of Experiential Learning

  • Real-time feedback and coaching from staff and peers
  • Develop and refine communication and team-building skills
  • Pride of seeing your finished product or accomplishing a task
  • Fresh air!
  • Movement helps students who struggle with focusing
  • A real-life application that makes meaning to the activity

Planning Ahead

As the end of the school year approaches or if you are thinking ahead to the next school year, explore opportunities to learn and build relationships in nature, and within your community. You certainly don’t have to rent a field house, but come up with something for students to remember and think about for years to come!

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