Learning Expeditions

A major portion of our curriculum is integrated into long-term, deep study of topics. We call these long-term studies Learning Expeditions. We use the term “expedition” metaphorically. Lewis and Clark went, not on a trip, but an expedition--an incredible and unforgettable journey in which they met challenges, solved problems, and arrived at a destination that seemed unattainable.  Using the term “expedition” in the phrase, “learning expedition,” adds the sense that this learning experience will not just be a "lesson", or a "unit" to cover.  It will be instead a deep, wide, and engaging learning experience that may take anywhere from several weeks to several months to accomplish. 

Learning Expeditions are organized around a topic that is both meaningful and important.  Various case studies, experiments, projects, and learning workshops are used to gather knowledge about the topic and generate lines of investigation.  Relevant tools from the various disciplines are used to study the topic and help students achieve a deep understanding of the various issues and challenges.  Throughout the expedition, teachers structure time and opportunity for high-quality work with multiple revisions.

In the K-8 most expeditions are either science oriented or social studies oriented with the other disciplines providing enrichment and support where appropriate.