The Arc

At Buckeye we deep dive each trimester into an intensive exploration of an arcing theme. Sometimes these themes encompass more than a trimester. Our students move through interdisciplinary studies of useful subjects chosen using the democratic process, which inspires their natural curiosity and innate desire to learn.

In the Discovery phase, our kids define success and what skills and understanding they want to acquire during their trimester. They analyze and contextualize the subject asking why is it important? How will these skills serve me in my life and goals? What steps do I need to take? What tools do I need to take them? Which experts can I access to help me through the trimester in order to ensure success?

Using a digital journal, these tasks and goals are outlined so that our kids, co-learners and parents can monitor their progress and record their achievements.

Phase two is Expression. Our kids jump into the deep end of their chosen subject using a multitude of tools, experts, experiments, collaborations and interpretations. They test their theories, they compare their resources, they define their position and in the final phase they articulate them.

Phase three is Exposition. In the final phase of our trimester, the kids share their exploration through demonstrations, written commentary, presentations and celebrations. Communicating their discoveries integrates work and develops confidence, agency and social-emotional growth.

Throughout the trimester we celebrate creative expression and play as  natural paths to discovery and mastery. Our co-learners help seeds learn to prioritize, manage their projects and time while cultivating agency to handle obstacles, mistakes, decision making and surprises.

An example of an arc is ‘The History of Food in our Families.’ In the Discovery phase our kids will explore with their families, the epicurean past of their ancestry. What did food mean to their families? What did dinners look like? Did they have abundance or lack? What were the struggles? What were the celebrations?

In the Execution phase of the arc, our students will choose a recipe that best represents their family and deep dive into multiple facets of this rich subject.


  • Are they native to the Americas?
  • What is their origin?
  • How has their industry affected our culture?


  • How do you scale this recipe to serve our large group at the conclusion of this arc?
  • How do you convert cups to milliliters?
  • How do you create a budget?
  • What is the difference between cash and credit?
    • What is interest?
    • How does it compound?
    • How do people get overwhelmed by debt?
  • Calculating the cost difference between local and commodity ingredients
  • Calculating how much fossil fuel is used when transporting food


  • What are our policies regarding these ingredients?
  • Are they subsidized?
  • How do these subsidies affect our people and economy?
  • Can we buy them locally?
  • What is the economic impact of buying from a local store versus a national one?


  • How do these ingredients impact our bodies?
  • Are they inflammatory?
  • How do they impact disease?
  • How did they impact our ancestors?
  • Is there a difference between organic or industrial?


  • What impact does growing these ingredients have on our environment?
  • How can we improve their sustainability?


  • What happens to protein when you apply heat?
  • How do the ingredients mix?
  • Are they acidic? Or alkaline?
  • How does your body break them down?

Life Skills

  • Setting a budget
  • Comparison shopping for price and quality
  • Choosing store, ingredients and purchasing
  • Interviewing family members to understand our shared history
  • Presenting your recipe and budget for approval from the class
  • Enlisting and directing collaborators to help you perfect your recipe


  • Mastering the recipe in preparation for our celebration through multiple iterations of trial and error


  • Culminating the arc by creating all these recipes and sharing them in a celebration with our Buckeye community at a retirement facility
  • Our kids will share their food and their history in the festival of family and community

Throughout the arc our kids will be writing, collaborating, creating visual projects, artistic expressions, perhaps even growing their own ingredients in a life skill experiment. Our co-learners will serve as supports, sounding boards, extra hands and question askers. Rather than giving explicit directions or direct answers, our co-learners will use multiple tools to help our kids discover their own direction and conclusions.

The fundamental rhythm at Buckeye is Discovery, Execution and Expression.