This week, dive into the concept of "sneaky learning" with us, a term coined by EXPLO parents, Ana and Graeme Lawrie, which gets to the heart of EXPLO's curriculum, both inside and outside of the classroom.
If [students] are building bridges and also destroying them, you can apply so much educational theory to that. And that’s what [EXPLO’s] team does. They are really cleverly pulling [fun and academic rigor] together. I mean, we recently spent 10 minutes in an EXPLO class… and we didn’t want to leave.
Sneaky learning is more than just having fun; it’s also how we believe we can prepare kids for an uncertain future. When we put learning in disguise, our brains are more open to the unexpected, which fosters students’ innate creativity to push past their boundaries. When a student says they may have "accidentally" learned something, it’s usually the result of carefully curated content — and we consider it no accident at all.
At EXPLO, we encourage the pursuit of lifelong learning — which means we are constantly doing our own studying up, reading on, or relearning the concepts that we teach throughout the summer. Here are some fun links that we've been recently reading on sneaky learning.
Hands-On = Minds On. Why playful learning is the key to prosperity.
- How a pillow fight between Stravinsky and Picasso led to an unlikely epiphany: The Neoclassical Era of Ballet
The combination of serendipity and sagacity offers a powerful lesson in the classroom: sometimes digression is education
- Watching objects explode is surprisingly awesome and surprisingly educational. Introducing the Finnish YouTube Channel, "The Hydraulic Press."
- Students are the most engaged when they are doing something that is hard and fun at the same time. Seymour Papert, founder of MIT Media Lab coined a term to describe this sensation: “Hard Fun.”
This author took up a sport for fun. No surprise that it led him to write a critically-acclaimed book about the Athenian Navy and the evolution of the Viking longship.
- What The Tortoise Said to Achilles turns a simple fairytale into a powerful refutation of all logic as we know it — without even knowing it
At EXPLO, sneaky learning takes many shapes, forms, exercises, and events. Just a few EXPLO experiences students have tried that include hidden ways of learning are:
- Activity: Learn negotiation tactics, craft a plan of action, and practice how to read people's body language every afternoon in Wellesley's Game Room, a space to perfect the art of play (grades 8+9)
- Course: Lead a double life in Super Secret Spy Society, a course dedicated to the art of sneaking around (grades 4-7)
- Weekend Trip: Come White Water Rafting in the Berkshires, where you can develop your team building skills and improve your self esteem (bonus: you get to take home an selfie with your friends from around the world) (grades10-12)
- Course: Take a trip to space, control rovers on the planet Mars, and look on from your computer screens at NASA (or something that feels really really close to that) in Exploratory Robotics (grades 8+9)
- Workshop: Geek out about your favorite book series with like-hearted individuals, all while critically assessing character development through a psychological lens in Psychology of Harry Potter (grades 10-12)
- Main Event: The moment you step outside of your comfort zone is the moment you realize you can again and again. At Off-Broadway Night, Explosé, and EXPLOpalooza, try it for the very first time. (grades 4-7, 8+9, 10-12)