Improving our community together through project-based learning

By RSEC Team | May 23, 2018

Longview School gets upgrades across campus during annual project week

Each year, students at Longview School form teams and work together to build, fix, and create across the vast campus full of biking trails, waterways, hiking treks, outbuildings, and gardens. It’s a great opportunity for students and teachers who haven’t spent much time together throughout the semester to work together and form new relationships while learning new things. The week-long event also solidifies concepts around the impact that we have on our community and what we can accomplish by working together.

Years from now, the 2017-18 class at Longview can return and see the marks they left on our community. Each student signs his or her name to every project, and their efforts will be evident to every student who comes after them. After all of the projects were completed this year, we took an all-school hike around the Longview property to learn about each others’ work and take pride in what we accomplished. Here’s what we did this year:

Compost Bin

Team: Noah, Mira, Trevor; led by Michelle

Noah, Mira, and Trevor built a three-compartment compost bin for organic food waste. At Longview, we grow and prepare a lot of the food and snacks used in our full-service culinary arts center and kitchen. Now that the weather is warmer, we have been planting and harvesting in the gardens and greenhouse, so we have a need for fresh soil. Part of our homesteading program focuses on reducing waste that goes to the dump, helping improve the planet. A new compost bin will do just that!

Fun fact: The length of time for decomposition varies according to materials added and other factors and ranges from two to six months on average.

BBQ Pit and Picnic Table

Team: Hayden, Aaron, Sean; led by Tom Jennings

Hayden, Aaron and Sean worked together to build a barbeque pit, and massive 16-foot picnic table that seats at least 16 people! Students planned out the jobs for the project, measured, and worked together to complete the job. Mistakes were made, and then corrected, and the team finished the project ahead of schedule. The team said it was gratifying to see the whole school enjoy the food from the project week celebration, while sitting at the picnic table they just finished building.

Stop in: Next time you visit Longview, you won’t be able to miss the new picnic table, proudly positioned near the front of the building!

Art Trail

Team: Freddy, Mike, Aaron C.; led by Stephanie

For project week 2018 we worked with Stephanie the art teacher to give the forgotten art trail a colorful makeover and bring it back to life. The team started by clearing the trail of fallen trees and years of overgrowth. Next, they found old logs and lined the trail to create a more permanent path. They uncovered old art that was buried along the path over the years and re-displayed it. After deciding to make the art trail look like an enchanted forest, Freddy, Mike, and Aaron created eight giant hula hoop dream catchers to mark the trail. To add a burst of color to the gathering place along the art trail, they took yarn and wove it through the trees and up the tree. Finally, the team added perennials to provide years of color growing along the art trail!

Did you know: Yarn is biodegradable? Birds love it for nesting, making it a colorful and functional art installation!

Walking Bridge

Team: Danny, Tristan, Julian; led by Taylor

Longview’s massive trail system has a few rough patches, so this group identified an area in need of repair. They dismantled an old walking bridge and designed a new one using a tree they cut down, pressure-treated decking, and nearby stones.

Fun fact: Walking releases a protein called BDNF, or brain-derived neurotrophic factor. Some experts refer to BDNF as “Miracle-Gro for the brain” because it encourages the growth of new brain cells, which can help ward off memory loss and dementia.

Tetrahedron Sculpture

Team: Joan, Damian, Emily, and Taylor:

Tetra is the Greek word for the number four. A tetrahedron is a shape with four sides and four angles, and is considered the most stable structure. The tetrahedron also reflects the energy of the fire element in many cultures and traditions. The three corners represent power, acceptance, and balance, rising up to one powerful focused stream at the top. This team combined two important aspects of the curriculum at Longview: arts-based learning and project-based learning, to add a thoughtful and beautiful piece of artwork to the campus.

Did you know: Arts-based project work creates opportunities for students to react to unexpected events in unfamiliar situations while working together with others.

Nature Center

Team: Dave, Jacob, Kolin; led by Brian

This team worked on two projects at Longview’s Nature Center, where we have fireside group ups, stop for breaks during hikes and bike rides, and observe the natural world. The first was to complete the rebuild of the steps on the Nature Center. Dave and Jacob helped make a big improvement from what was there before and now getting up on to the deck is much easier.

Kolin helped with the second project of installing beadboard and a chair rail to the inside of the Nature Center. The entire team worked hard to help dress up our “annex in the woods,” but the hardest part was hiking all the materials out there! It was definitely worth it in the end!

Fast fact: Longview School is headquartered in a grand log lodge located on a 154-acre campus bordering a 5,000-acre nature preserve and Pawtuckaway State Park in Deerfield, New Hampshire.

Bike Trail Improvements

Team: Logan, Mateo; led by Cory

This team set out to build a mountain bike track out of an existing trail on the Longview property. Logan and Mateo worked very hard constructing two bridges that spanned over a stream and a rock obstacle. They raked and cleared the area thoroughly, and trimmed bushes and trees that obstructed the path. Lumber was hauled to where the two bridges needed to be, and then constructed onsite. On the final day, they tested the trail on bikes with great success. The result is a pretty cool intermediate single track and the connection of two major trails!

Did you know: Longview’s campus includes an art studio, bike repair and maintenance shop, a technical education shop, and a full-service commercial kitchen?

Thank you to the teachers and students who made this year’s project week such a success!

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