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Service Learning

Student service learning combines classroom instruction with community service to address community needs.

Students take what they learn in the classroom and apply that knowledge to real-world problems in their communities. Service learning enhances the learning experience by:

  • teaching critical thinking skills to solve complex problems in the context of real-world situations
  • encouraging civic responsibility and community action
  • promoting cooperation and teamwork
  • building character

Service learning supplements reading, writing, and classroom discussions. It is also ideal for students who learn better by doing hands-on activities rather than simply sitting in a classroom.

Learn more about what defines a high quality service learning project.

What is Not Service Learning?

Service learning differs from community service (volunteering) by requiring structured and guided classroom learning. Students then apply this knowledge directly to a problem or need in the community.

Service learning also should not be confused with mandated community service hours required for graduation or as a form of punishment.

Service Learning Examples

  • Project Examples
    Browse or search project examples by academic subject, grade level, type, or keyword.
  • Success Stories
    Learn about successful service learning projects around the United States.
  • YouthSITE (Sharing Ideas and Tools for Engagement)
    Find out what other students are doing and get ideas for a service-learning project of your own.

Find Service Learning Opportunities

Service learning may be available at K-12 schools, colleges and universities, and faith-based or community organizations. Ask a counselor or other staff member about opportunities. Also check out the following:

  • Conservation Corps
    Provides hands-on environmental stewardship and service-learning opportunities to youth and young adults.
  • ServeMinnesota
    Provides information on Minnesota AmeriCorps opportunities.