Learning from Mother Nature: Active Learning and Self Discovery

Blog / Learning from Mother Nature: Active Learning and Self Discovery


I've been out of the office for the past two weeks visiting campuses across the Midwest and Seattle Area. It's been a slur of different hotel rooms and long days on the road. By the time I found myself at Puget Sound University at the tail end of my trip, I could not ignore the call of Mother Nature.Puget Sound University is a beautiful liberal arts college in Tacoma Washington, just 35 miles south of Seattle. When prodding the economics department for suggestions for the evening, Point Defiance Park ranked among the top of the list. The park is a protected natural reserve along the coastline of the sound and most notably home to a stand of old-growth forest. Along my hike I learned that bald eagles are particularly attracted to old-growth forest ecosystems. The featured photo above is a bald eagle on its perch overlooking the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.As I hiked throughout the park I was reminded why many refer to nature as the greatest teacher. When I hike by myself, there is the thrill of finding my own path, achieving an end goal, and being fully immersed in the environment. The parameters being: trail makers and a map.MobLab functions very much in the same way. We let students discover economic theories through decision-making games where they are immersed in a storyline or market setting. The given parameters: the rules and sliders/equations to predict profit.I was absolutely ecstatic (see selfie below) when I fumbled upon a wild bald eagle. I took a ton of pictures, sat and watched it for a while, even called my mom to tell her about my discovery. As economic instructors, we hope MobLab can inspire this same sense of self-discovery and enthusiasm for students.Until next adventure,Emily
Published 19 Aug 2016