Story, photos and video by Jo Mathis/AAPS District News
A2 STEAM students are ending their school year with a new addition that connects students with nature and spreads the message of environmental education.
Following one long productive General Motors “Day of Service” this spring, A2 STEAM gained an outdoor classroom of large circular benches and raised garden beds.
The children love their new outdoor classroom, says teacher Brooke Stidham, the PBL coordinator at the school.
“They are so happy to have a space to learn outside, and the parents are amazed too,” says Stidham. “Multiple grades have already taken their classes outside for a variety of projects including erosion experiments, measurement, and reading time. The sixth graders are working on building rain barrels to care for the plants in the garden, which will eventually have student created models of bugs, birds, and butterflies on them.”
The work was done by about 20 volunteers from GM and a few construction foremen from Forward Design Build Remodel, whose owners are parents of A2 STEAM students.
Stidham says A2 STEAM is very fortunate to have partnered with the GM and National Wildlife Foundation’s Eco-Schools USA program.
“They were the missing piece in helping our teachers and students’ visions for an outdoor classroom become a reality,” she said. “A year ago, when I was having first grade students learn and write about environment issues that affected them, I had no idea that one letter (from student Ava Hoffman inquiring about electric cars) would have spurred this wonderful partnership.”
The school was awarded grant funds and recycled materials from GM to complete the project.