BLACK RIVER FALLS, Wis. -- Class options at Black River Falls High School are similar to high schools across the state. Every school has several electives to choose from, and, of course, there are required core classes. But in the Black River Falls School District, there is another learning option for high school students. It's called the Black River Area Green School or BRAGS.
"BRAGS utilizes project based learning," said Quinn Robinson, BRAGS teacher. "And project-based learning is the new... all the research at universities... this is the new way of teaching students."
Students at BRAGS create their own projects and come up with their own outcomes based on four areas: green technology, resource management, organic agriculture and sustainable lifestyles.
"The idea with project-based learning is that when you learn something in the real world, everything doesn't exist in a nice neat little box... strictly math, strictly science, strictly English," said Robinson.
So, students learn their core subjects by coming up with projects that interest them, as well as, meet the required state standards for their grade-level.
"I don't like having to have the same projects as everybody else, because there's no diversity in that," said Chris Tallent, BRAGS junior. "Everybody will have the exact same project and the exact same results. I like being able to choose my own project and get my own results."
Students also get to experience the outdoors through weekly exploration days when nature becomes the classroom.
"We get to learn how to canoe, but yet we stopped at some places and talked about the landscape and what trees there are, and talked about the history of the rocks that were there, such as limestone, and the big operation and then we talked about the Black River Falls dam that they just built," said Nevada Martin, BRAGS sophomore.
And it's these types of experiences which help students develop a skill which isn't always taught in a traditional classroom.
"I think that people are becoming more independent learners and things are so dynamic and always changing. Utilizing project based learning, you learn essentially how to learn," said Robinson.