Authentic Project Ideas – Fences


Driving along a country road in Virginia, I ran across a beautiful split rail fence.  It was part of the fencing around a Civil War battlefield.  I started to think about these split rail fences, and the reasons why fences were constructed that way in centuries past.  Then I started to think about modern fences, some that are really beautiful and fit in with the landscape, and some really ugly fences.

An authentic project might be to research the history of fences.  How about a catalog of all of the ways fences have been, and are currently built. Or maybe, how the local environment impacts what materials are used in fences.  (Years ago, I saw wonderful playgrounds in Iceland that were carved into the lava flows, the surrounding lava becoming the “fence.”)  How about what fences are popular today and why?

A fantastic authentic project might be to design a modern, affordable, environmentally friendly fence that is not ugly!  Perhaps this might lead to a future venture/business into actual fence design and production!

Fences are used to keep dogs in yards.  There are many interesting breeds of dogs.  Do different breeds require different types of fences (material/height)? Remember – authentic learning means that a student’s passion may change the direction of the project.  If talking about fences leads to an in depth project about dog shows and how fencing and enclosures are used at these shows – that IS authentic learning!


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