Oxbow Meadows Creates a STEM Courtyard for Elementary Students

Columbus State University Oxbow Meadows Environmental Learning Center and 12 volunteers from CSU's College of Education and Health Professions have completed the first phase of a STEM courtyard for Key Elementary School.

With the support of Wells Fargo, Columbus Water Works, and the Columbus Audubon Society, CSU student volunteers installed raised planting beds, bird feeders, and rain barrels. They also corrected drainage problems and re-finished picnic tables at the school.

"I wanted to help develop a plan that would use the school-yard as a context for learning STEM, and would integrate arts and language arts" said Michael Dentzau, Executive Director of Oxbow Meadows.

The goal of the project is to create lessons that address science and mathematics standards that focus on inquiry for each grade level. Key Elementary and Oxbow Meadows have collaborated in creating a series of lesson plans that are geared toward the use of this new natural space. Phase 1 of these lessons have already been developed and will include bird identification books and binoculars for students.

Oxbow Meadows, opened in 1995, offers formal and informal educational programs about the ecology and natural history of the region. They serve as a resource for CSU students and are dedicated to inspire and empower people of the community to engage with their natural environment for continued learning.

Additional improvements to the Key Elementary School courtyard are scheduled for the spring.