Our Wisconsin charter school uses scientific research and project-based learning as the focus of our curriculum. Project learning is based on a constructivist model of learning that engages you in real-world scholarly activity because you get to chose topics that interest you.
Posted on February 5, 2012 by James G., 9th Grade
It was mid October. The leaves were being swept away on cool breezes while Samuel, Austin, Matthew, and I had all but finished up our deer survey, and were in the market for a new project. We were going over some different papers, waiting for inspiration to swoop in when the idea struck. The southernmost trail in Beaver Creek had been overgrown and abandoned for the last few years. We wanted to make it our mission to restore the trail to its former glory.
Day one came, and we spent the better part of the morning trying to find the trail. Its width varied from the size of a deer trail to nonexistent. We didn't finish. The second day, we found the rest of the trail using a handy-dandy GPS. To our dismay, we discovered an entirely new snag: we would have to build a bridge.
Apparently, the old bridge had been washed out due to flood waters, same as the one before that, and the one before that. As a result of previous failures, we're planning on making a rather innovative and fun bridge.
Since we started, we've raided the Beaver Creek caretaker's shed for tools every morning, headed out to the trail, and come back for lunch. As you can see, it's been as time consuming as it's been physically demanding. As of this newsletter, we've spent over 15 hours into the renewal of the trail.
More recently, we had the middle school come out and help us for a day; which just goes to show that many hands make for faster but less efficient work. In effect, we made about 150 yards of progress, but only 75% of the work was done in that area. That was the last day we worked on the trail before the winter, and we plan on working on it for many more hours when spring finally breathes some warm air on the land.
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In the winter of 2011, Wildlands Charter School students began producing news stories for our website and an electronic email newsletter.
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