Reynoldsburg City Schools News Article

Fourth Graders at Herbert Mills Take on STEM Challenge

A project by fourth graders at Herbert Mills STEAM Elementary School has been selected as a regional winner in the Ohio STEM Learning Network challenge.

This year’s challenge asked students to design a workable solution that provides or improves security for someone or something.

The Herbert Mills students tackled how to make the environment more sustainable to help secure the safety of endangered animals such as the lark sparrow, the rusty patched bumble bee and the green salamander.

Three of the students who worked on the STEM challenge project watch a video announcement of the winning designs
Fourth grade teacher Denise Taylor says the students used the design cycle: imagine, plan, design, improve, and share.

“First they imagined the problem of Ohio's endangered animals specifically central Ohio. They learned about the animals by researching and learning from a naturalist at Blacklick Woods Metro Park. Then they planned how to help the security of endangered animals by planning a garden,” Mrs. Taylor said.

In their video presentation submitted for the challenge, the students state their solution is to create an environment where the animals can get food, water and shelter.

Graphic of design phase showing the design of the garden plotStudents laid out plans for a garden at the school that would attract and sustain the endangered animals, to include plants, a bird bath and structures that can be used as habitats. A 3-D model using CoSpaces helps the students see what the garden space will look like.

“My favorite part of this project was using CoSpaces because we got to code and make all different things like homes for our animals,” said Liam, one of the fourth-grade students who worked on the project.

After all the fourth-grade classrooms agreed to a garden design, the principal and assistant principal signed off on the plans. Mrs. Taylor says the next step will be to weed and prepare the 12 foot by 12-foot plot of land.

Fourth grader Kiera is looking forward to getting the garden planted. “I’m looking forward to smelling the plants and looking at the green salamander in real life,” she said.

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