A different type of learning


Brooke McNeal, Writer

Students who feel like they aren’t getting fulfillment in their everyday classes and want to use their skills to impact the community while also meeting graduation requirements have a chance to do so.

Iowa BIG is a project-based school where students get to learn through projects that are in their interests.

“Iowa BIG has really opened my eyes to bigger things out in the community and other careers that I could be interested in,” Landree Person, jr., said.

Person joined Iowa BIG at the start of the 2015-2016 school year and it is already benefitting her educationally.

“It has shown me that there’s more to the real world than just doing a worksheet and learning material, there’s actually struggle and failures. When you first go to BIG they’ll tell you that you will fail, and you will, so you learn from that,” Person said.

Students enrolled in Iowa BIG get a chance to show their passions through the different types of projects.

“Help We is a website where people can get resources to local charities and nonprofits that provide them a way to get their needs fulfilled that they might not be able to provide themselves,” Kyle Scheer, sr., said.

This is only one of his projects.

“Another one is Van Meter Efficiency Team. We work with Van Meter Incorporated to analyze and evaluate their millions of rows of data in their warehouse stocking database. We analyze inefficiencies and find innovative solutions to solve them,” Scheer said.

Students can gain credits that they would’ve from core classes from the projects at BIG. Person is gaining Language Arts, Government, and Economics from her projects.

“I’m on a water park project called Cedar Bayou and they’re building a water park near Kirkwood. We gathered information and research about water parks and we are going to pitch our ideas to the head builder Nick Ford,” Person said.

Although enrolling in BIG means taking a half day of classes there, students believe this is beneficial.

“”BIG gives students the opportunity to explore their own interests and make real meaningful impact on the community,” Scheer said.

Students at Iowa BIG take on projects through interests, which makes is more like leisure than work for some.

“The projects are not as hard because I want to do it and I want to learn it so it may seem challenging, but I care enough to actually push myself to learn it because I care about what I’m doing,” Person said.