Dream to Do 

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

Exploration: our seeds 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?

Expression:  Our seeds 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.

Exposition: 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.

Public speaking is often sighted as peoples’ greatest fear. At Buckeye our seeds have the opportunity to speak publicly throughout their journey in a safe caring environment that allows them to overcome this fear and find their unique voice.

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 Marina’s
  • Met with a boat builder
  • Took a boat tour on Lake Sara
  • They started making and testing model boats
    • 1st they used tin foil & took 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.