At the heart of the Middle School program is what's called the "pedagogy of place," which focuses on helping students find their position within broad social, geographic, economic, and historical contexts.
The Land Lab is indeed a place, with authentic social structures, a micro-economy, and distinctive natural and human history. It allows students to engage in adult occupations and enterprises, to serve the local community, and to connect with history and science in meaningful ways that inspire more than dry lessons from a text book. If properly engaged, students begin asking questions: What do I want this place to be? Who am I in this great story of human life on earth? Am I going to protect this place? Will I be a significant part of it?