5 Times Academies of Lexington Students Took Hands-on Learning to the Next Level

Imagine stepping foot into a classroom where students are immersed in interactive learning experiences, and are busy exploring a field of study that actually interests them. They are surrounded by a tight-knit group of peers and teachers, who not only support their ambitions—but connect their academic experiences with real-world careers and hands-on applications. At the Academies of Lexington, this vision is very much a reality and is currently underway in classrooms throughout Frederick Douglass, Bryan Station and Tates Creek high schools.

By diving into Project Based Learning (PBL) activities first-hand, Academy students benefit from engaging and relevant learning experiences that better prepare them for the future. Whether they decide to pursue post-secondary education after high school, or go directly into the workforce, they graduate with so much more than a diploma.

With PBL being a benchmark of the Academies of Lexington, our students are constantly experiencing next-level education—but here are five times we were blown away by their zest, enthusiasm and passion for discovery.


1. When Health Science Academy students practiced transporting people from higher floors of buildings during Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) class

Students in Jeremy Miller’s class at Douglass are getting firsthand experience learning lifesaving skills that will be critical to any future EMT. From practicing how to respond when arriving on the scene of an emergency, to interacting with Mr. Miller as a mock 911 operator, the EMT pathway offers a hand-on approach to gaining real-world experiences.


2. When Engineering Academy students built a chair strong enough to support the weight of an adult…using only cardboard

 Bryan Station’s Engineering, Manufacturing and Robotics Academy students teamed up to design and construct chairs made of cardboard—and nothing else!—that are strong enough to hold their teacher, Mr. Willhoite. Unbelievably, brothers Shared and Sanjay Patel’s chair took only one hour to complete!


3. When Academy students explored the world using Virtual Reality (VR) goggles

With View-Master Deluxe VR goggles, Douglass students can explore a 360-degree view of anywhere in the world—allowing them to take fully-immersive field trips wherever they can imagine. Using a smartphone-based VR viewer, the goggles not only enhance learning activities, they take students to destinations they may not be able to experience otherwise.


4. When Academy students were prepared to conduct on-camera interviews during Video Studio Fundamentals class

In Mr. Alcala’s Video Fundamentals course at Douglass, students in the 10th to 12th grade have been learning how to handle videotaped interviews—covering everything from how to respond on camera, to utilizing high-tech camera equipment.


5. When Freshman Academy students planned an entire wedding in their Life Skills class

Planning a wedding is no easy feat—just ask Tates Creek Freshman Academy students in Ms. Mullins’ Life Skills class! From planning menus, to organizing a deejay and a color theme, no detail was left unturned in the mock wedding ceremonies that were flawlessly executed by ninth graders in the school’s library.  The project was the finale to the course’s relationship unit, which covered everything from personal development and friendships to dating, parenting, middle age, and retirement.


In addition to promoting critical thinking, memory and creativity among students, PBL allows teachers to increase engagement in their classrooms and provide more interconnected learning experiences that truly prepare students to thrive in the 21st-Century economy. We can’t wait to keep up with the incredible things that our Academy students are achieving every day, and hope you’ll join us in our movement to transform public high school education in Lexington.

To learn more about how you or your student can get involved with the Academies of Lexington, visit our website.