Real-world learning

“When am I ever going to use this in real life?”

It is a question that has been asked in classrooms up and down the country for generations. And it’s a fair point. Whether you’re learning how to multiply fractions or analyse Shakespeare, you are more likely to understand if you know why you might need it in later life. (And you will: fractions come up in everything from cooking to construction; understanding tricky language is an important life skill.)

Real-world learning embraces this idea, and encourages students and teachers to learn by engaging with the outside world. That might mean conducting a science experiment outdoors, going on a trip to a historical landmark, or solving a problem in your community. Experts believe this approach allows students to be more “open-minded, reflective, critical”.

The Day is designed to support real-world learning by linking current affairs to the school curriculum, and encouraging students to debate important issues. Our articles do not tell you what to think, but help you to make up your own mind.

What will you learn this summer while you are out in the real world? And how will you bring your experiences back into the classroom next year?

Read Our Stories


This short video shows how real-world learning works with primary school students.


  1. Think about the school subject that you find most difficult. Then research how the skills might help you in the real world, and explain your findings to the rest of the class.
  2. In groups, design and carry out a simple science experiment using materials that you find outside or in the classroom. Report the results to the rest of the class.
  3. Split into groups and choose a problem you want to solve in your community. This could be an environmental problem, a social problem, or a practical problem. Research the cause of that problem, and then come up with some solutions. Once you have one, see whether you can make it a reality.