Ohio Appalachian Collaborative Blog

It takes teamwork to make the dream work

Project-Based Learning at Fort Frye Local School District

by Stephanie Marshall, High Schools That Work Coordinator, Fort Frye Local School District | Jan 06, 2016

At Fort Frye Local School District, educators strive to actively engage students in the learning process. One strategy that has been very beneficial to students is project-based learning (PBL)

PBL at Fort Frye
PBL was successful in the 8th grade math class last school year. To kick off a weeklong assignment, teacher, Barbara Sleek, partnered with Mr. Bret Allphin, Development Director of the Buckeye Hills-Hocking Valley Regional Development District, through the Building Bridges to Careers committee.

The students were given a scenario: Develop a new sports complex for Fort Frye High School, with a specified amount of money for budgeting.

They had to make considerations for the budget, the land that would be needed (if not already in possession of the school), the property value, type of soil, construction necessities, and the acquisition of materials needed in order to complete the project. In addition, students had to decide where the complex would be built, how to budget while maintaining safety rules, regulations, and precautions, and how to make plans become a reality.

Mr. Allphin used resources from his work to show how to do a large portion of the project using the technologies of Google Earth, maps of actual land from Washington County, and online resources to assist students throughout the process. 

From the exit surveys given to the students, every person agreed this was an experience that put social studies and math into the real world. The students all appreciated hearing about a real-world job in which maps and math were used. Many asked if Mr. Allphin could come back again to help with other projects. The students were engaged and enthusiastic about the learning process. It was a project well worth the time and effort needed to set up for the students.

Another example of PBL success came from the 10th grade health class. Health teacher, Marla Hoerst, and guidance counselor, Mary Beth Shultz, taught a project about fungal meningitis and compounding drugs. They partnered with Glen Melick, pharmacist for Marietta Memorial Hospital and Tasha Werry, Director of Careers and Resources and Outreach for Marietta City Schools.

The students were presented with the problem: May the hospital continue to compound drugs?

To start, students were placed into groups and each group was given a different perspective of trying to answer the question. The different perspectives included: doctor, patient, construction contractor, preschool next door, pharmacist, drug supplier, and custodial staff.

They explored the New England outbreak of fungal meningitis and speculated if something like this were to happen in Marietta. Students researched compounding drugs and presented their findings and answered the question, “May the hospital continue to compound drugs?” from the perspective of their group.

The results? Most groups chose to continue to compound drugs locally. Fungal meningitis and compounding drugs were two topics students hadn’t researched before this project. It was an eight week project and students were given eight class time days to work on the project.

Student success is very important at Fort Frye High School. Students and teachers who have been a part of project-based learning have seen the value it holds and are eager to incorporate more projects into the learning process. For more information about teaching and learning in Fort Frye Local School District, visit: http://www.fortfrye.k12.oh.us/