Egg drop promotes experiential learning

ExCEL Fellows extol the benefits of learning while doing

The Shapiro Campus Center was a little louder than usual during lunchtime last Wednesday. The long line at Einstein’s Bros. Bagels was lively, the accessory stand’s wares reflected the unusually sunny weather, and a steady stream of students was hard at work trying to save their eggs from a gooey end.

Straws, foam chips, bubble wrap, tissues, rubber bands, bags, newspaper, plastic water bottles, and packaging foam all were pressed into service. The first “drop” was at 11:47 am.

“I tried to work from the inside out. I started by keeping air in the bag and padded it all around with foam. I thought each resource could serve its own purpose and I tried to take advantage of that,” said Elayne Weiss ’15. “But at the same time, I thought it was really clever [after watching the first drop] to see other people who used much fewer resources and different ways to do it.”

The egg drop event was sponsored by the ExCEL Fellows, a group of student leaders who have “excelled” in their experiential and community-engaged learning pursuits, to garner attention for the wide variety of experiential learning courses available next semester.

Students could pick up chocolate, “I Love EL” pins and a listing of experiential learning courses for spring semester. ExCEL Fellows at the event helped build contraptions, created some of their own, and most importantly, answered questions regarding Experiential Learning.

“I love experiential learning and it’s so interesting that not many people realize it when they are doing it. If you know about it and study it a bit more, you can actually get a lot of benefit out of it,” said Avishek Neupane ’15, an ExCEL Fellow.

Daniel Langenthal, the new director of Experiential Learning and Teaching, attended the event as well. Previously, Langenthal was the executive director at Mabat, a nonprofit organization that conducted cross-cultural training for Israeli university and college students.

“What’s important in experiential learning is learning by reflecting on what you did – what did I do well, what did I do poorly, how can I change, etc. – and knowing that failure is okay and that there is always another egg,” said Langenthal. “That’s called the experiential learning cycle.”

Langenthal is looking to bring that Experiential Learning mentality to each Experiential Learning class as well.

“Experiential learning can happen anywhere at any time – it can happen in the classroom, it doesn’t take a lot of resources, it doesn’t require taking pictures, it doesn’t take studying abroad – it can be done in any environment on any subject,” said Langenthal. “My big thing is that the content is the medium for learning. It doesn’t mean we have to leave the classroom and go on a field trip every time.”

Categories: Student Life

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