Learning by Doing

We believe that students learn best when lessons are authentic and students are actively engaged in solving real-world problems. Experiential education is often described as “hands-on” learning or “learning by doing.” Rather than lecture to students, teachers design lessons to explore underlying concepts through meaningful engagement with the subject matter. A hands-on approach to learning promotes critical thinking and creativity, makes abstract concepts real, and deepens students’ understanding.

Experiential learning involves trial and error. When students are allowed to take intellectual risks, making mistakes becomes a valuable part of the learning process. Through experimentation and reflection, students gain valuable insights that accelerate learning and improve retention. When they are actively engaged in this way, students also gain a sense of pride in their accomplishments. 


Casino Night: Experiential Learning in Action

Casino Night is the culminating project of our 6th grade probability unit. To explore the underlying concepts of probabilitysuch as theoretical versus experimental probability, and independent and dependent eventsstudents design their own games of chance. In creating the games, they learn what makes a game “fair” and how to compute the odds and payoffs, all the while utilizing fractions, decimals, and percentages.
 
Over the course of the unit, teachers work with students to further develop the mathematics needed to formulate their game design. Students develop a construction plan, create a prototype, and then test and refine their games as necessary. Finally, in an exciting event, they share their games with the school community on Casino Night.

Field Experiences by Grade

K Camp Long  1 day
1st Camp Casey 1 night
2nd Camp Sealth 1 night
3rd Camp Killoqua 2 nights
4th IslandWood 3 nights
5th Northwest Maritime 3 nights
6th Camp Seymour 4 nights
7th NatureBridge 4 nights
8th Global Studies (abroad) 4 weeks

Field Experiences: Beyond the Classroom Walls

Evergreen’s field experiences take our curriculum beyond our classroom walls and provide opportunities for hands-on learning and personal growth. Each camp is a progressive step toward independence.
 
In our first overnight camp in 1st grade, students each have one adult along for support. By 2nd and 3rd grades, students begin to experience overnight camp with only the support of the classroom teachers and six adult chaperones. The intention behind the gradual addition of days and nights away from home is to build resilience and self-determination, as students connect to the world in which we live.
 
By the time students move to the Upper Division, they are confidently taking part in three nights away from school with only limited parental involvement. The confidence that our 8th graders show as they embark on their month-long global studies trip exemplifies the value of these intentional, incremental steps toward independence.