Project Based Learning at Holy Cross

manny proj

The bug of community gardening has been planted at Highlands Community Charter School, and it is taking off like wildfire. This week, Manny Casillas and his students have to set to work on their new campus, Holy Cross.

Highlands moved into Holy Cross less than a month ago, but the students and staff have already taken ownership and responsibility of their new surroundings. For example, when they noticed that their new location had run-down, unused planter boxes, they took the lead from our St. Matthews family and decided to develop a community garden themselves.

Their teacher, Manny, saw this as an incredible learning opportunity and incorporated science and mathematics into every aspect of the project which included the scientific method, irrigation specifications, and photosynthesis. With the encouragement of their teacher and inspiration from their math paraeducator Dr. T., students took this challenge head on. Dr. T is from Iran and has his Doctorate in Agriculture and Engineering.

On top of that, Manny had another engineer, with 33 years of experience, donate two days worth of his time for questioning and suggestions. During this time, students were required to do relevant research in order to ask the engineer research based questions. Needless to say, the students were in very good hands when working through their models, equations, and displays.

“I was very surprised on how well the students attacked this project,” said Manny. “They were all engaged for two weeks – they developed drip systems, artistic models, and researched practical math.”

Students are now putting all of their work together on tri-level poster boards to present and reflect on all the hard work they have done.