Experiential Learning in History Class

Conserve School history teacher Michael Salat believes in the power of experiential learning. He has found that having students create their own watercraft using traditional tools is a wonderful way to make the history of the Lewis and Clark expedition come to life.

From their readings in the book “Undaunted Courage” students learned that Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery used brute strength to build their own canoes during the winter of 1804. The canoes allowed them to continue upstream on the Missouri River. The Corps of Discovery also made several more canoes for their travels down the Snake and Columbia rivers as they made their way to the Pacific Ocean.

In this class activity students had a chance to experience history as they crafted their own dugout canoe and paddles. The activity culminated with a chance to have fun with a dugout canoe on Little Donahue Lake, one of the many lakes on the Conserve School campus in northern Wisconsin.

Does your school do something similar?

One thought on “Experiential Learning in History Class

  1. Michael and Conserve School Students, on the way home from Wisconsin (post Family Weekend) we listened to Lewis and Clark’s Journal from beginning to end. What a great experience you all are having living their trek. Lewis and Clark’s team, the Corps of Discovery, persevered, just like you and your classmates are doing through your solo adventures, your stewardship classes, core subject projects, and more. Keep the perseverance going; your moral and physical character is incredible! Thank you, Michael and Conserve School Administration, for what you are providing our youth!

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