Connect the Learning to Their World #30GoalsEdu

Goal 25: Connect the Learning to Their World of The 30 Goals Challenge for Educators! Click the link to find out more about the 30 Goals Challenge for Educators!

“When you teach a child something you take away forever his chance of discovering it for himself.” ~ Jean Piaget

One of my first teaching internships was at a hands-on science museum. My job entailed designing tasks, lesson plans, and activities that would help individuals tie the difficult science concepts into their real world experiences. For example, when teaching about density and bouyancy, my students enjoyed doing the Sink and Float activity. Each student would get various objects and drop them into a large clear, bowl of water to see if they sank or floated. Students would first list objects they were going to test and make predictions according to the object’s weight, mass, material, etc. After the activity, we would discuss the importance of learning the material by students sharing experiences and everyday examples.

There are various ways I could have taught these difficult concepts. I could have had my students read about these concepts in a book, showed them a video, or let them study a diagram. Preparing those lessons is much easier as well as the clean-up. However, the students would have never experienced the concepts first-hand or been able to test the knowledge or draw their own conclusions. They wouldn’t have been able to make predictions and experiment. Teaching from a book or lecturing will never result in experiential learning, because with these instructional methods the answers and knowledge are already laid out for our learners. Our learners are forced to accept it and memorize it to pass tests. Connections are made when learners are able to test, question, play, observe, create and experiment.


Short-term– Take one lesson that is primarily taught using the textbook or by lecturing and have your students instead do tasks in which they connect the learning to their real-world experiences.

Long-term– Throughout the year, begin to find more ways of getting your students to participate in real-world learning.


The following resources will help you find and create hands-on lesson plans.

Important News


Help your students connect their learning to their real world experiences.

Did you reflect on this goal? Please leave a comment that you accomplished this goal by either posting your own video reflection on Youtube, using the hashtag #30GoalsEdu, posting on the 30 Goals Facebook group, adding a post to the GooglePlus page, or adding a comment below!

Be inspired with these Inspirational songs, videos, quotes, and more on my Pinterest board, Inspiration for World Changers!

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Shelly Terrell

Shelly Sanchez Terrell (@ShellTerrell) is an award winning digital innovator, an international speaker/consultant, and the author of Hacking Digital Learning with EdTech Missions, The 30 Goals Challenge for Teachers, and Learning to Go. She has trained teachers and taught English language learners in over 20 countries as an invited guest expert by organizations, like the US Embassy, UNESCO Bangkok, Cultura Inglesa of Brazil, the British Council in Tel Aviv, IATEFL Slovenia, HUPE Croatia, ISTEK Turkey, and Venezuela TESOL. She has been recognized by several organizations and publications as a leader in the movement of teacher driven professional development as the founder and organizer of various online conferences, Twitter chats, and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Two of the projects she co-organized were shortlisted for ELTons, #ELTChat and the Virtual Round Table Language and Technology online conference. She was named Woman of the Year by the National Association of Professional Women, awarded a Bammy Award as a founder of #Edchat, and named as one of the 10 Most Influential People in EdTech by Tech & Learning. Her greatest joy is being the mother of baby Savannah and Rosco the pug. Shelly has an Honors BA in English with a Minor in Communication and a specialization in Electronic Media from UTSA, a Masters in Curriculum Instruction ESL from the University of Phoenix, and a CELTA from CELT Athens. She regularly shares her tips for effective technology integration via Twitter (@ShellTerrell),, and on her blog,, which has won several awards and recognitions as one of the top ESL, Edtech and Elearning blogs. Find over 400 of her slide presentations at

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