Expeditionary Learning, or ExL, is a program for 6th, 7th and 8th graders at Lawrence E. Jones Middle School. The program was established in 1995.
It is based on the principle that students of all ages, learning styles, and ability levels not only can learn, but also want to learn. ExL is designed to provide a powerful learning environment through the use of integrated thematic study units, reinforced by real-life excursions and hands-on projects. This combination captures students’ natural passion to learn and develops curiosity, skills, knowledge, and courage needed in today’s society.
Expeditions are structured to challenge students to extend their learning beyond textbooks to the world around them. They learn to work as part of a group, planning communal meals and necessary equipment for expeditions, sharing decision-making, and acquiring authentic assessment and time-management skills for long and short expeditions. They work on student-designed cooperative projects as well as individual assignments as part of a varied and comprehensive learning program. By the time students have finished 8th grade, they have taken part in approximately 50 expeditions.