Case Studies

Case Study: Fluency Biology Lab

Meet Getulio Brasil and learn how he strives to make a difference at The Santa Cruz Cooperative School in Bolivia.

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Santa Cruz Cooperative School is the only college preparatory school in Santa Cruz, Bolivia accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and the Bolivian Ministry of Education. These accreditations, held since 1987, lead to both American and Bolivian high school diplomas and ensure SCCS students study a curriculum that prepares them for entry into a university.

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The Santa Cruz Cooperative School in Bolivia is committed to providing its students with a curriculum that prepares them for successful studies at colleges and universities around the world.

Meet Getulio Brasil and learn how he strives to make a difference at his school.

How to we inspire lasting and meaningful change

The act of changing anything, especially learning and instructional practices, takes time and planning. It requires understanding where you are and knowing where you want to be, and then figuring out how to get there. Getulio Brasil, Head of Science at the Santa Cruz Cooperative School in Bolivia, knows this well.

When Getulio decided to begin working with the Essential Fluencies, his extensive background in science enabled him to approach using them as an experiment. And a successful experiment it was.

groups brainstorming

A student brainstorming session gets underway in Getulio's classroom

Today at SCCS, Getulio’s students remain engaged and excited about learning by using the processes of the Fluencies. Getulio himself remains vigilant in his hopes of inspiring other educators to embrace meaningful change in the same way. 

How do we plot a path to sucess

“Initially the idea of using the Fluencies was more of an investigation,” Getulio recalls. “As a science teacher or a scientist, we test ideas. So I wanted to develop the Fluencies in my students and see the outcomes.”

The experiences Getulio had while incorporating the Fluencies with lab practices in Grade 10 Biology are profiled in a study he created for Buffalo State College in 2013. The two-month-long research involves two groups of Biology students that were pre- and post-tested in both attitude and achievement.

planting the future

Students planting for the future at Santa Cruz School

They used an earlier version of the Wabisabi online app, and the results of the study indicated a positive impact on both attitude and achievement scores in students.

Incorporating the Fluencies also allowed Getulio to get creative with other students. “I was teaching Ecology—the product for the unit was a ‘Living on Mars’ project. Students had to develop a plan to transport humanity to Mars to save our species. The projects were amazing, and the results for exams were even better—and they had a blast!”

How best can we measure growth and progress


Getulio asserts that students are the main focus of the process, always. He believes if they enjoy benefits like those below, then teachers also benefit because they want to see them learning.

  • Learning with the Fluencies is more collaborative and becomes project- and inquiry-based primarily.
  • There is a significant improvement in achievement and attitude.
  • Scores on exams improve with more in-depth learning.
  • Students now see higher levels of relevance in their learning.
  • Students are excited and enjoy learning more.


    The primary hope for Getulio is that he can continue to inspire his fellow teachers with the change that has happened for him as a result of working with the Fluencies. 

    • By incorporating the Fluencies into teaching, learning happens quicker and becomes more permanent.
    • Lesson planning with Fluencies creates high levels of student engagement in the classroom.
    • There is a greater focus on the understanding of key concepts/skills.

    School Culture

    The Fluencies contribute to a healthy learning culture by making students and their interests the essential focus of instruction. Here is what the Fluencies have helped to foster at Santa Cruz CS.

    • Scenario learning provides greater student engagement and allows for more engaging assessments.
    • The Fluencies provide a pedagogical approach that puts children at the center of the learning.
    • Students get involved, create solutions, and show better performance.
    • Transformation in the overall learning process has been one of the most significant benefits.

      How do we ensure learning continues to improve and excel

      The insights into teaching and learning that Getulio gained with the Fluencies is a paramount consideration for any educator. “It was interesting to see how kids understand concepts better when they have to develop a product after an entire unit,” he says.

      “In my opinion, if it deals with creativity, kids will have to spend more time to achieve their objectives. After spending time researching, their understanding related to that concept is a lot deeper than before.”

      So what’s next for Getulio and his students at Santa Cruz Cooperative School? “My next step is developing other units connected to the Fluencies,” Getulio claims. “I prefer to teach with the Fluencies. Things move a lot faster, and you see much better results. And that’s what any teacher expects.”

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