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  • Michelle Peterson

What is Experiential Learning?

Updated: Jan 24




How are islands formed? Why are there so many different rocks at the beach? What is geology? Why do other beaches have different rocks? Do rocks have ages? These are some of the questions asked and answered as we combed our secret beach in Paros, Greece, with 5 of my favorite little people ages 4-16. Sitting in a classroom, these five would not have been on the edge of their seats to learn about the geological formation of rocks and their classifications. However, they were captivated at the bottom of a rocky path along the edge of a quiet beach filled with millions of colorful stones. Experiential learning is, as the term implies, learning by doing. We are all more likely to understand and retain information when actively participating and reflecting on the acquisition of it. Vacations are filled with experiential learning opportunities, tap into your interests and use your creativity to take advantage of those opportunities.


On the day of our beach outing, I spent the morning collecting beach rocks. Before I returned with the kids later in the day, I used a rock-identifying app called Rock Identifier to sort and classify the stones. And because I was having so much fun, I made a chart with rock properties. Once the kids saw my collection and learned about all the rocks and minerals, they could find they couldn't wait to make their own collections. We found Serpentine, Basalt, Green Jasper, Miriam Stone, Carnelian Agate, Chalcedony, Red Jasper, Milky Quartz, and more. We also learned the properties of some of the rocks found. Carnelian Agate is a healing stone that can help remove negative or sad feelings. And Green Jasper is a grounding stone that can promote strength and calming energy. My nieces and nephews and my kids all left the beach mini geologists with their own rock collections. We decided to name our beach - Gem Beach. If you find yourself in Paros, Greece, keep an eye out for it near Ampelas.


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