Kris Owen

Ridgeview Jr. High School
Pickerington, OH

Project Description:

“Ridgeview Outdoor Classroom STEM Design Challenge”, Owens’ winning program idea, is a project charging students to create their own  cross-curricular outdoor classroom in the watershed area behind the school. It will be an eco-friendly experiential lab that will expose  students to contextual problem-based learning about the trail, ridge and Sycamore creek found in the watershed area. The student-led  initiative may include creating a wetland viewing area, designing two classroom areas, and increasing the length of accessibility of  trails. They also will identify indigenous flora and fauna, invertebrates, fish, birds, and mammals, as well as research appropriate  organisms to introduce into the environment. In addition to improving the outdoor space, students also will be asked to develop cross- curricular connections between math, language arts, history, arts and science. Local experts, the school district and the parent teacher  organization (PTO) also will be involved in the program, with the ultimate goal of having the Ohio Department of Natural Resources  designate the area as a nature preserve. Owen, who lives in Carroll, hopes students will increase their skills in the STEM engineering  design process while addressing community issues and exploring career options with adult mentors and professionals.