Students work on putt putt design

Getting creative, students in Michelle Medlock's 8th grade algebra class have been busy building their own putt-putt holes as part of a cross-curriculum class project.

"We talked about golf courses and putt putt holes being made up of different shapes," said Medlock. "Then we began our project by coming up with designs for putt putt holes where their designs had to have two to three different shapes included."

She went on to explain that once they had their shapes, they had to determine the dimensions of their putt putt holes with the condition that the total area was somewhere between 90-120 square feet. 

"After determining which dimensions would work best, they could use that to find the perimeter of their putt putt holes," said Medlock. "Once they had the area and perimeter of their putt putt holes, they had to determine the cost to provide for enough artificial turf and lumber (for a border) with prices I provided them. After all of that, they had to create a scale drawing of their putt putt hole on graph paper then scale down their dimensions so that we could build them."

Adding a cross-curriculum component to the project, students in Kala Ponder's language arts classes read "A Sound of Thunder" by Ray Bradbury. 

"We focused on Bradbury's essential question, 'Killing one butterfly couldn't be that important! Could it?' We expanded our knowledge with supplemental resources by reading articles," explained Ponder. "What was discovered was the 'Monarch's in the Rough' initiative."

Students are emailing Lauren Jones, director of marketing at French Lick Resort, to assist in communicating with the Pete Dye Golf Course. 

"Our goal is to encourage the local golf course to participate in creating an environmentally forward-focused space, in the rough, where milkweed and other native plants are kept free of pesticides," said Ponder. "The hope is more butterflies will have a habitat to feed before migration or a place to stop along their journey. This real-world application is exciting and terrifying.  Saving butterflies is the mission, the fact that they may never accept after our hard work is disheartening. We are literally hoping to plant a seed!"

Medlock said the students have enjoyed the hands-on learning and spending time in the STEAM lab creating their putt putt holes. This week, students in Algebra and honors language arts classes will go on a field trip to French Lick to play a round of putt putt and have lunch.

"The field trip is a fun way to end this unit with them actually seeing putt putt hole designs and looking at whether or not their full scale dimensions would be realistic," said Medlock.

The students are working on projects about the topic in their other classes as well, including art, science and tech.