Youth used math to determine the proper ratios of water, sugar and lemons to make lemonade.

By Karette Fussell, PIO
Ventura Youth Correctional Facility

Grounding one’s understanding of abstract concepts is an integral part of performance-based learning and on Feb. 28, Mary B. Perry High School at Ventura Youth Correctional Facility (VYCF) hosted an array of  projects created by students focusing on the framework of 21st Century Globalization with the theme of Perseverance.

Olympus Digital Camera

Project-based learning (PBL) is a student-centered philosophy that focuses on students learning about a subject by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to a complex question, challenge or problem. Our exemplary teachers here at VYCF are adept at implementing PBL which maximizes the effectiveness of the learning experience for our youth.

The inherent conundrum of contemplating perseverance and 21st Century Globalization is a heady prospect which requires our youth to look outside of their adolescent mindset and consider a more expansive vision, wrought with complexity as well as harsh Third World realities.

Student’s PBL exhibits spanned a vast educational terrain, encompassing Art and Character Development to Literacy, Math, Physical Education, Science, Health, Drawing, English, Computer Technology, Videography, Government, Culinary Arts, Animal Science and World History.

Projects were staged in various areas throughout VYCF, flanked by enthusiastic students poised to enlighten visitors of the scope, purpose and objective of their PBL projects.

Student’s opportunity to become actively involved in seeking viable solutions to problems related to perseverance and 21st Century Globalization provides an invaluable life lesson that promotes self- efficacy, empathy and altruism while honing critical thinking, qualities essential to forging positive changes and developing pro-social behavior that will facilitate growth within and beyond VYCF.

For example, to meet “Next Generation Science Standards” on water properties, human impact on natural resources and to parallel the anchor text (Long Walk to Water), Ms. Elliot, a Science teacher at Ventura Youth Correctional Facility, had all of her classes collaborate on preparing lemonade from lemons donated from a local citrus grower to raise funds for Water Charity, which installs wells and pumps in third-world countries lacking clean water.

The lesson itself included reasons for water shortages, sustainability, and the math necessary to scale the lemonade recipe.


Youth used math to determine the proper ratios of water, sugar and lemons to make lemonade. Other demonstrations included animal sciences, art, videography and many others.