Teaching Geography Using Incidental Learning

Let's suppose that we want students to know the state capitals. Let's further suppose that a student has a real interest in baseball. Wouldn't it be possible for a student to achieve some baseball goal, and learn some geography at the same time? If we wanted a student to know where Boston is, and he was a fan of the Yankees, who happened to be playing Boston, and we gave that student tickets to the game, plus a car and a map, don't you think that he would learn sufficient geography to get himself to Boston?

Since this approach is too expensive to achieve on a mass scale, we developed the Road Trip program, which does the next best thing. It teaches US geography to grade-school students by allowing them to take simulated car trips around the United States. When the student arrives at a destination, he can watch exciting video clips that are particular to where he is and match his interests.

Although Road Trip has turned out to have strong appeal to a surprisingly broad range of students, our original intention was to target the least motivated students. Students who do not have an extraordinary love of learning for its own sake become bored when they are explicitly required to study. Road Trip is designed to reach the student who would rather be home watching TV than be in school.

Next Story Road Trip: The Geography Un-Lesson

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