Not even a global pandemic can stunt the growth of Webling Elementary School’s project-based learning efforts. After adopting 10 lemon trees through Project Lemon Tree last year, the school is now gearing up to expand their program even further.

Setting A Foundation for Success

During the previous school year, Gifted and Talented/Response to Intervention/Science Resource teacher Hanlan Bowler led Webling Elementary School students and staff in planting their 10 lemon trees from Bizgenics Foundation’s Project Lemon Tree. Each grade level cared for them and set goals with their teachers as they planned their lemon tree projects for the following year. 

The school ordered one teacher instruction booklet and seven student booklets, which they put to good use. Hanlan used the materials to teach his students about building and testing student model designs, while other teachers implemented various lessons from the Project Lemon Tree Curriculum.

As the school looks to secure funding for a lemon tree structure, many local businesses have already come together to help lay the groundwork for success. Pearl City Home Depot donated planters and pruners, Geobunga Honolulu donated planters, West Oʻahu Aggregates and Island Topsoil donated soil, and Webling PTO donated soil amendments and trowels. Structural Hawaiʻi even helped to create permitting plans, which were approved by the Honolulu City and County over the summer.


Tech group students demonstrate lemon tree planting.

Demonstrating Innovation and Resilience

When Webling Elementary School launched their Project Lemon Tree project, they didn’t know that their school year would be interrupted by COVID-19. Innovation is one of the many skills developed by the program, and the staff and students had the opportunity to put it into practice. Instead of letting their lemon tree projects falter, they came together to keep the trees growing while students took to online learning.

Custodians and adoptive teachers, including Hanlan, tended to the trees over the summer and first quarter. While staff eased into the new school year and established online learning systems, the trees were moved back to their locations. 

As students return to the campus, they will continue to care for and study their lemon trees, which are healthy and making good progress.


10 newly planted lemon tree saplings

Adapting for a Bright Future

The school shows no signs of slowing down and even has plans to expand their Project Lemon Tree program with an additional 10 trees. Students from preschool through 6th Grade, with the exception of the 4th Grade, will take part in this project-based learning. Though the hope is that students will be able to return to school, participating teachers are hard at work adapting their projects for both online and hybrid learning models. 

Webling Elementary School has demonstrated resilience and commitment, and they are proof that it is possible to innovate and create a bright future for students of all ages.

Get in touch with us to discover the power of project-based learning and or leave a comment below to share your Project Lemon Tree experience!



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