Daily VideoMay 8, 2013
“Expeditionary Learning” Builds Problem-Solving Skills for Real Life
In an effort to engage students and prepare them for the rapidly changing world that meets them on the other side of graduation, some schools are turning to “expeditionary learning” to teach students to think in a focused, project-based environment.
This approach to learning means that students don’t switch topics when they switch classes; instead, all departments create their curriculum around a central theme.
One school that has implemented the “expeditionary learning” approach with great success is King Middle School in Portland, Maine; a public school with a diverse population and open admission. When students at King started their four-month expedition in October, they were told that by the end of the project they would “create a device that captures natural energy and transforms it into something that’s useful for people in some part of the world.”
To do so, the school took the students on an interdisciplinary in-depth study of wind power. In science class, they used robots to learn about the mechanics and design necessary to accomplish such a project.
In social studies, students learned about the politics of wind power, while in English class they read “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind,” the autobiography of William Kamkwamba of Malawi, who built a wind turbine to power his house.
At the end of the project, students designed their own natural energy devices and presented them to an audience of the peers and parents. Inventions ranged from a scrubbing pad that generated electricity to a crank flashlight.
While students may forget the particulars they learn in the classroom, teachers hope that this style of learning will teach students the skills they need to solve problems in the real world.
“Before this expedition, I kind of always thought of myself as, I’m good at writing and I’m good at reading, and that’s what I’m good at.This expedition has completely changed my idea of science. Science is doing and science is building, and science is creating,” – Liva Pierce, student.
Warm up questions
1. How do you best learn information? Through reading, hand-on activities, lectures, etc.?
2. What keeps you engaged in school?
3. What does “interdisciplinary” mean?
1. What did you find most interesting about this video?
2. Do you think you would learn well in this type of environment? Why or why not?
3. What would you change about how schools teach students? Why?
Tooltip of related stories
Tooltip of more video block
Submit Your Student Voice
Learn about the lives of the eight students and two teachers killed in the school shooting at Santa Fe High School in Texas on Friday, May 18th. Continue reading
A total of 61 Palestinians, including eight children, have been killed since Monday by Israeli gunfire along the Gaza border as the U.S. opened its new embassy in Jerusalem. Continue reading
Here’s a breakdown for your students ahead of the U.S.-North Korea summit on why the Korean War never formally ended and the latest update on efforts for peace in the region. Continue reading
“I ask no favor for my sex. All I ask of our brethren is that they take their feet off our necks,” states Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in a new documentary about her life. Continue reading
DOWNLOAD VIDEO Video summary Part two the PBS NewsHour’s four-part series on “Junk News” explores…