Knowles Experiential Learning Project

KELP is a working group made up of Teaching Fellows supported by the Knowles Teacher Initiative. This web page contains a multidisciplinary resource bank containing free lessons designed by KELP Fellows, all of which are anchored in real-world phenomena. Our resources are inspired by the Galápagos Islands ecosystem.

We are also working to design experiential teacher professional development trips that help STEM teachers deepen their practical and professional skills, especially in the context of experiential education.

We are guided in our work by four central tenants, which we believe are crucial to effective instruction:

1. Real-World Instruction. We believe students learn more effectively when material is contextualized in real ecosystems, real phenomena, and real research.

2. Multidisciplinary Collaboration. We learn most effectively as teachers when we collaborate across content areas and see familiar content with new eyes. Our students learn most effectively when content areas are not artificially separated, but weaved together authentically.

3. Experiential Learning. Students learn STEM topics most effectively when they are DOING math and science as practitioners, rather than receiving knowledge passively. Teachers can learn the value of experiential learning by acting as learners in new contexts and situations.

4. Classroom Culture. Teachers and students learn most effectively when they feel supported in a classroom culture where each person is known and respected. Making deliberate moves to build classroom culture - such as intentional play, getting-to-know you activities, and outdoor experiences - do not take away from instructional time, but rather enhance it.

With thanks to Ecology Project International for all of their support!