The school pond will become an outdoor learning laboratory

London Elementary School has received a $5,000 Battelle For Kids STEM grant to purchase tools and supplies for students to explore the pond behind the school. The idea is to treat the pond as an outdoor learning laboratory.

(Published February 28, 2022)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

The retention pond behind London Elementary School takes on a new purpose.

Thanks to a Battelle For Kids STEM grant, students in grades K-5 will have the tools to enjoy the pond as an outdoor learning laboratory.

London Elementary is one of 100 schools in Ohio to receive $5,000 to expand science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) learning projects through the Ohio STEM Learning Network.

“We will use the money to buy things like thermometers, binoculars, a weather station and soil sampling kits,” said Carla Shaw, director of digital learning and innovation at London City Schools. .

Shaw, who wrote the grant application, said she considered a wide range of potential learning activities. Students could keep statistics on a variety of sightings, participate in national bird counts, analyze water samples, and catalog the different types of wildlife they see.

“We’re already established as a wild school by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, so it goes along with that,” Shaw said. “It helps students appreciate the wildlife in their community a little more and enhances STEM learning opportunities.”

The goal is to have the tools and supplies on hand in time to start using the outdoor learning lab this spring, she said.

In the long term, the district would like to build a boardwalk in the pond and install seating along the shoreline, said district superintendent Dr. Lou Kramer.

Marine Corps
Shaw’s efforts to help students also include a trip to Parris Island, SC, where she learned about the Marine Corps. She spent Feb. 8-11 at the Marine Corps Recruiting Command Educators Workshop.

“The goal was to learn more about the Marine Corps, as well as other branches of the military, so that we could help students make informed decisions about military pursuits (after high school),” Shaw said.

She and 37 other educators from Ohio and Michigan experienced a slimmed-down version of bootcamp. They learned about the enlistment process and the educational and career opportunities offered by the military.

“Through this experience, I am able to have realistic, informed conversations with students who are considering this opportunity,” Shaw said.

She plans to share the information with other staff at schools in the City of London.


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