NOAA B-WET Project 
"Advancing Environmental and Geographic Literacy through Problem-based Learning in the Middle School Grades"

Investigative Question

All 1000 6th grade students in Frederick County Public Schools are investigating the question: “Where should Blandy Experimental Farm build its proposed education center?”

Project Design

To answer this question, students conduct investigations in the field and classroom examining and evaluating potential effects on existing environmental and cultural resources at Blandy.  At the end of each school year, groups of students present their selected building sites to the Foundation of the State Arboretum Board and explain their reasoning for their site selections.

 Strategies and Logistics 

Blandy and Frederick County Public Schools educators use a multi-disciplinary, problem-based learning (PBL) approach to guide students through the problem-solving process.  

Students visit Blandy twice each school year (fall and spring) to assess environmental and historic/cultural resources and potential effects that the development of a building site could have on these resources. Each field investigation day is preceded and followed by work in their English, Mathematics, Science, and History and Social Science classes. 

  Lessons Developed

The concept map below outlines the interconnected components of this year-long PBL module.


The I-ASC project is a partnership between Blandy Experimental Farm/UVA and Frederick County Public Schools.  This project is made possible through a generous grant from the NOAA Bay Watershed Education and Training Program (B-WET).

Please use the tabs at the top of the page to explore project resources, including lesson plans; to view student data and final projects, and peruse our project photo gallery.