Target 3 – Flexible Learning Environments. FWSU will maximize flexible learning environments by redefining the school day, promoting learning experiences that extend beyond the school classroom, and fostering creativity, innovation, and differentiated learning opportunities for all.

Action Step -Provide students with access to content, resources, and methods for learning beyond the school day and beyond the school walls

Indicator of Success – Students are engaged in answering authentic questions and solving problems in collaborative settings.


This year our seventh and eighth grade students are concentrating on Life Science content – NGSS (New Generation Science Standards) Standard 4-251, from molecules to organisms: structure and process. Beginning with plant cells, moving to photosynthesis, students are on their life science journey.


Students were initially presented with information regarding cells, organelles and their functions. All living organisms and their component cells have identifiable characteristics. All living things exhibit patterns of similarities in their structure, behavior and biochemistry. The stages the students learn begin with cell function, moving into photosynthesis, from photosynthesis to how trees produce energy, then the last stage, classifying tree characteristics.


GEMS students are producing Leaf Guides that include a diagram and identifying parts of leaves, including identifying what trees the leaves belong to. They are starting with the smallest cells to leaf identification, and ultimately to producing a leaf guide that will align with tree identifications.


Fortunately for GEMS, we were able to reach out to a Georgia community member, Greg Drew, who has been a wonderful resource identifying trees on our school property for the students. Mr. Drew is a professional craftsman who creates unique and individual pieces from local wood.


For the culminating event students will have to create a drawing or a pic collage representing photosynthesis and using their Leaf Guides to correctly identify trees on our property.

It is great to have an environment that allows students to conduct hands on field studies!

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