Experiential Learning in ML

Outdoor Education

Near the beginning of the school year, each Middle Learning grade heads to a different part of North Carolina. Students engage in a number of activities which stretch them both physically and mentally and center around academic connections, developing life skills, and team building. Students return with strengthened relationships, a new awareness of their world, and an understanding that learning can happen anywhere.

5th grade Outdoor Education
Goal: Team Building

5th graders roasting marshmallows at  Outdoor Education camp

Fifth-grade students leave for their outdoor adventure at Camp Pinnacle in Flat Rock, North Carolina. This offers an opportunity for students and teachers to establish relationships while supporting and encouraging one another during challenging tasks such as rock climbing, exploring the waterfront, and completing a low ropes course. Students are introduced to the fifth-grade theme, “Choose Compassion,” and begin to explore this idea through a variety of hands-on activities. More wonderful memories are made while playing in the lake, handling creepy crawly critters, practicing yoga, archery, and more!

6th grade Outdoor Education
Goal: Science Orientation

6th grade students exploring a river at Outdoor Education campThe sixth-grade trip begins with rafting down the Nantahala River. Once students are back on land they head to Camp Pinnacle in Flat Rock, North Carolina for hands-on science activities blended with community-building and adventure activities. Students explore watersheds from a canoe, peer at aquatic species collected from a cascading stream under a microscope, and study the energy cycle while hiking in the forest. Classes are designed to weave experiential learning and science instruction for students to more effectively retain the information they are learning in science class. Designing a successful egg drop, swimming in the lake, and riding the waterslide will make this trip as fun as it is educational.

7th grade Outdoor Education
Goal: 21st Century Skills

7th grade student rock climbing at Outdoor Education campUpon arrival to Camp Pinnacle in Flat Rock, North Carolina, students are split into teams of 10–12 classmates and a teacher. In these teams, students will be challenged with fun, team building activities. The weekend helps students practice communication skills that are essential for building community. After strengthening their team through challenges, they spend the night outdoors where they reflect on their personal development and their contributions to the team. Each activity is led by two trained instructors who guide students to encourage group growth and individual awareness.

8th grade Outdoor Education
Goal: Backcountry Camping and Hiking

8th grade students backpacking during Outdoor Education campUpon arrival to Pisgah National Forest, the eighth graders learn outdoor skills, hike through some of the most beautiful scenery in the country for three days, discover the flora and fauna of the forest ecosystem, and much more! While immersed in nature’s classroom, students learn other valuable lessons too: practicing communication through daily “evening circles”; critical thinking as “leader of the day”; collaboration while setting up camp and cooking meals; problem-solving through fun team-building games; and kindness while forming a close-knit community. They may be stretched beyond their comfort zone but will return home having experienced many tremendous growth moments.


Each year, Galloway's Middle Learning students take one week to immerse themselves deeply into the study of a specific topic. The experience varies by the grade level but all students emerge from the experience knowing what it means to examine something an inch wide and a mile deep.

5th grade Immersion

5th grade students working on a project during the Immersion programDuring Immersion, the fifth grade dives deeper into their year-long theme of Compassion. They learn about people who have different experiences than they do. The students hear stories and meet people who have cerebral palsy, a hearing or visual impairment, autism, and a spinal cord injury. Then they create a Galloway School that would be a fit for all types of learners.

6th grade Immersion

6th grade Immersion fieldtrip to Atlanta

In keeping with their yearly theme of Belonging, the sixth grade explores different parts of Atlanta. They will follow ready-made scavenger hunts in Decatur, Oakland Cemetery, Marietta, and the BeltLine to learn more about the city, its history, and its people. While on the hunt, they choose something they want to learn more about and have the opportunity to research to dive deeper.

7th grade Immersion

7th grade Immersion program students cleaning up leaves

The seventh grade is exploring the topic of sustainability to tie in with their theme of Advocacy. As advocates for the environment, each student becomes an "expert" on one of five areas: shelter, water, transportation, food, and energy. Visiting sustainable sites around Atlanta helps them identify sustainable practices and hopefully apply some to their own lives.

8th grade Immersion

8th grade Immersion student volunteering with childrenThe eighth grade's theme is Courage, and their focus for Immersion is the refugee population. They explore the topic from a number of angles. A few highlights include volunteering at Jolly Elementary and working with refugee children, participating in a simulation led by Friends of Refugees, and hearing a personal story from one of their teachers, whose childhood experience included life as a refugee.