Stories from the Driftless

Project Based Learning Makes an Impact at Coon Valley Elementary – PRTP14



Today we’re going back to the flooding of Coon Valley in 2018. The area endured over 12 inches of rain in just a few days, and to complicated matters, multiple dams broke in already saturated areas. The evening of August 27th was unforgettable as residents were awoken in the middle of the night to evacuate. Emergency management performed over 350 rescues and 46 roads were closed in just Vernon county. Farms, business, homes, community spaces, and roads were devastated. The students in today’s episode were all old enough to remember that night and no doubt, it left an impact. So when Erica Manix, 4th grade teacher at Coon Valley elementary, posed a “driving question” – how to prevent flooding in Coon Valley? The students were motivated and engaged because this opportunity hit home. Students conducted research, leaned on community experts, used their own experience to understand the complexity of the event and consider proactive ways to prevent future flooding. 

PBL Resources

  1. PBL Works (
  2. Facebook Group to share ideas: Elementary Project Based Learning 
  3. Hacking Project Based Learning by Ross Cooper
  4. Launch: Using Design Thinking to Boost Creativity and Bring Out the Maker in Every Student by John Spencer 

The Flooding of Coon Valley in 2018

  1. NOAA Weather Summary
  2. Channel 8 Special Reporting

Place Based Education Principles

“Place-based education is an approach that connects learners and communities to increase student engagement, boost learning outcomes, impact communities and promote understanding of the world around us.”

To learn more about Place-Based Education, please visit the link above.

Leave a Comment