Project Based Learning is a teaching method in which students learn by actively engaging in real-world and personally meaningful projects.

Through group work and individual passion projects, our curriculum is designed to unleash students’ potential to learn and apply knowledge, to pursue and refine their talents. Our graduates are the kinds of lifelong learners they will need to be for success in the balance of the 21st century. Their education at BFS has built their sense of agency, intention, and drive to pursue what they are most passionate about, because we know that passion and drive lead to change, and making the world a better place.

To guide our students in this journey, we follow what we call the Arc. The Arc is the fundamental rhythm of a BFS education. With two major arcs each year, students move through a diverse course of study in a series of intensive immersions, emphasizing depth over breadth, integrating and contextualizing the development of skills and domain knowledge.

The Arc allows students to contextualize their learning in real-world scenarios and connections between ideas, which creates pathways in the brain for longer-lasting learning. Each arc is framed by a specific topic that each student, Pre-K through high school, approaches at a level and perspective appropriate to their age.

The ARC has three main phases:


Our students define success and the skills and understanding they want to acquire during their trimester.

They analyze and contextualize the subject asking why it is 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?


Our students 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.


In the final phase of our trimester, the seeds 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 and phases 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.

The very first ARC we did at Buckeye was a problem we posed to the seeds.

Your co-learners are stranded on a deserted island because a pirate has stolen their ship, your job is to find a way to safely get them home!

Our seeds got together and decided they were going to build a boat. They immediately went to work researching and testing boat designs.

During the Exploration Phase they:

  • Visited marinas
  • Met with a boat builder
  • Took a boat tour on Lake Sara
  • They started making and testing model boats
    • They used tin foil & marbles to see how much weight their designs could hold
    • They evaluated themselves and each other.
    • Then they took what they learned and began to apply it to more and more complex models
      • Popsicle sticks
      • Recycled Material
      • Cardboard boat challenge where they all built a boat and tried to paddle it across the pond (80% sank and that is okay, the kids learned more from their ‘failure’ than from any other part of the experiment)

During these Exploration Phases, our seeds develop core STEAM skills along with powerful competencies like project management, collaboration and growth mindset.

Taking all they learned from their Exploration Phase, our seeds move into Buckeye’s Expression Phase where they put their new knowledge to work by creating something centered around whatever aspect of the arc they are passionate about; it can be a performance, a structure, an art object or experiment.

During our first Expression Phase our kids made a declaration to build a boat that would carry our co-learners to safety.

In their Declaration they presented:

  • Pitch
  • Plan
  • Design
  • Budget
  • Purchasing Order
  • Resources

They were approved and set out to build what would be a masterpiece… COWTASTROPHE!

The final phase of each trimester is Exposition, where our seeds celebrate their milestones with our wider community of family and friends through presentations and demonstrations.

During this first Exposition night, our seeds launched our co-learners on Cowtastrophe which would go on to carry the entire school, it was a triumph!

Our co-learners serve as supporters, sounding boards, extra hands and question askers. Rather than giving explicit directions or direct answers, our co-learners use multiple tools to help our kids discover their own direction and conclusions.

At Buckeye, we use this fundamental rhythm of Exploration, Expression and Exposition to help our seeds develop the agency to go from Dream to Do.