TCI Strategies: The Experiential Exercise

Imagine taking a class of middle school students outside to play “capture the flag.”  The mere mention of going outside for class will cause some middle schoolers to wet themselves in blissful anticipation of escaping the confines of school!  The addition of playing a popular outdoor game only heightens that feeling.  Better yet, the whole game has a purpose and puts you in the position of altering rules of the game to a particular outcome that ties into the American Revolution.  Students will never forget the activity nor the content it is so tightly woven to.  This lesson is taken from History Alive! The United States through Industrialism. Welcome to the Experiential Exercise strategy!

These lesson activities, if correctly done and sprinkled with the other five types of lessons, will revolutionize your classroom instruction. TCI embeds these lessons in all our programs.  Though the content and age appropriateness of the activities differ, the pedagogy is the same.  To that end, keep these steps in mind for a fun and successful experiential exercise in your classroom:


Use short, memorable experiences to help students grasp social studies concepts.


Prepare your students for a safe, successful experience.


Make the experiences as authentic as possible.


Allow students to express their feelings immediately after the experience.


Ask carefully sequenced questions to help students make connections between their experience and key concepts or events.


See this short video tutorial on the Experiential Exercise.  If you have a TCI subscription for your class, thumb through the table of contents to see which upcoming lessons are this strategy.  If you are new to TCI or our programs, check them out HERE.

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