Water Is Life! Celebration of Learning

Press Release for FSI’s 8th Grade Water is Life!” Expedition Celebration of Learning                 

Friday, May 27, 8:15 am – 2pm, at 21 Innovation Dr, off Sardis Rd.                                       

For Immediate Release: On Friday, May 27, Franklin School of Innovation 8th Grade Students will partner with Asheville GreenWorks to clean a 2-mile portion of Hominy Creek during FSI’s Celebration of Learning!  The stream clean is the culmination of a six-week study, in which students studied the impact of water on the history of Buncombe County and the lives of its residents.  During the “Water Is Life!” Celebration of Learning, students will share science projects, math data, their collective website project, and skits. We invite interested members of the community to share in this celebration of learning and participate in the stream-clean up.


This year, all Franklin students have participated in a Learning Expedition, an in-depth study through which students study big questions from multiple perspectives. FSI Learning Expeditions have also encourage students to take action towards sustainability through service-learning. The 8th Grade Expedition focused on water, which plays a crucial role in the development of communities throughout history. Students investigated the meaning of the phrase “Water is Life” from historical, literary, and scientific perspectives. Guiding questions and culminating projects for each core subject:

  • In ELA: How do different cultural narratives about water inform our human story?  Students have created skits to adapt the folklore from the cultures that called the French Broad River home during the 17th and 18th centuries.
  • In Science:  How can an understanding of the hydrosphere, watersheds, and human uses of water in history and today impact our stewardship of water resources?   Students created a water quality index to evaluate the health of Hominy Creek
  • In Math: How can data be converted into visual formats that are easily understood and compelling? Students analyzed the data collected from Hominy Creek
  • In Social Studies: How have groups in history and today competed for, cooperated, and conflicted over water resources in North Carolina? Students researched  the history of the cultures of the people living near the French Broad River during the 17th and 18th centuries and presented their findings on a student-designed website.

Please join us for an inspiring morning of Expeditionary Learning!

Agenda for Celebration of Learning:

  • 8:15- 8:30- Welcoming and agenda for the day is presented.
  • 8:30- 9:45-  Gallery walk presentation of Lab Reports and SS work and ELA performances.
  • 9:45- 10:15- Guest speakers (Asheville GreenWorks, Environmental Quality Institute)
  • 10:15- 10:45- Break   
  • 10:45- 1:45- Stream clean  
  • 1:45- 2:00– Closing and Dismissal


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Service Learning

FSI 8th graders, on this “Water is Life!” expedition have been collecting data on  pH, turbidity, dissolved oxygen, nitrates, and phosphates in Hominy Creek, investigating whether the creek can support aquatic life and the safety and potability of creek water. Data will be shared with environmental groups working to improve water quality throughout our region.  In support of this Water Quality Index Project, Peggy Altman, 8th Grade math teacher, and I applied for and were awarded a Burrough’s Welcome PRISM grant to purchase $3,000 of LabQuest Probes.  These tools enable our students to do the work of real scientists, both in the Water Quality Index and in other inquiry based science projects across all grade levels at FSI.

Getting out into the real world to take action

Earlier this spring, students collaborated with GreenWorks to plant a 100-tree “live stakes” nursery at Franklin. The native trees will provide a source for stakes that will be planted along Hominy Creek as part of creek restoration efforts. Collectively, Franklin students have planted nearly 1,000 trees this year!  We are grateful for having the support of our community: Greenworks, Eric Bradford, Mountain True, Friends of Hominy Creek, RiverLink, and an amazing crew of 8th grade teachers and students to be leaders in taking learning into positive action on behalf of a more sustainable planet.


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