In 2012, Clarksville Academy introduced a program called Challenge Based Learning, which takes an overriding topic and allows the students to collaborate and create projects and solutions that will be beneficial to themselves and the community. The CBL approach is different than that of problem-based learning as it focuses on increasing student engagement, and is a collaborative learning experience in which teachers and students work together to learn about compelling issues, propose solutions to real problems, and take action. Ultimately, our Upper School students implement community solutions while our Intermediate and Lower School students focus on impacting our school campu s. Clarksville Academy’s 1:1 Technology initiative combines perfectly with a CBL program because students have a personal learning tool in their laptop or iPad, which allows students to access information and data for the subject they are researching. Additionally, the 1:1 Program gives students a professional and instant vehicle for communication that is professional and flexible for a person to person, or group.
During Clarksville Academy’s inaugural Challenge Based Learning Program, students took action finding solutions for needs within the Clarksville community. The culminating “Solutions Film Festival” was a huge success. All of the student led groups found usable solutions to help different areas of Clarksville while reducing our carbon footprint. The areas the students researched and found solutions for within Clarksville dealt with pet over population, recycling, clean water, fitness, the arts and more. This program offered a new and exciting way to learn and problem solve for our students. The skills they learned are will only strengthen as the program continues.
Students in our fitness challenge group researched public fitness and how they could incorporate more fitness equipment into our current public parks. The solution our students came up with was to put outdoor fitness equipment at Liberty Park. The group then applied for a grant through the Community Health Foundation and was awarded $23,956! This was a HUGE success for our students, school, and community!
We are excited by how successful the 2012 Challenge Based Learning program has been and are thrilled to continue with CBL in the 2014-2015 school year. The success of last year’s Challenge Based Learning program has fueled an excitement for what our students will accomplish with CBL during the 2014-15 school year as together we impact the Clarksville community.