YELLOW SPRINGS — Mills Lawn Elementary School is sprucing up its tennis courts, thanks the minds of its sixth grade students as well as a $13,699 Lowe’s Toolbox for Education grant from Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation for the School/Community Outdoor Restoration for Education.
“The ultimate goal is to have a transformed space that can be an outdoor educational space as well as a recreational area, so we’ve ordered outdoor education kits studying soil, water, plants, animals, outdoor education and that will be a destination for classrooms to go and work on that and we’re looking for it to be an option for recreation,” Mills Lawn Principal Matt Housh said.
The tennis court venture is serving as an avenue down the school’s project based learning model. Students were tasked with brainstorming the future of the area, which went through a process of flushing out, combining ideas and cleaning up. Ultimately, sixth grade students Norah Fultz, Josephine Zinger and Chedin Manley, who made up a team called Intricate Design, thought to include in the area platforms, painted games, a track, stage and water fountain that allows dog lovers to drink alongside their canines.
The team’s slogan is “precision is our mission.” Fultz, Zinger and Manley were selected May 19 to cut the ribbon that divided the tennis court in half just before the students went to work cleaning up the tennis courts, symbolizing the start of the project. The sixth grade students would spend the day raking leaves, pulling weeds and building picnic tables.
“The kids did the research and designs and they’re very passionate about it,” Housh said. “We’re executing a student design. They were really able to make decisions out there.”
Multiple top teams were voted upon and selected by their peers. Upon selecting the designs, a team of architects and builders critiqued and casted votes of their own based on which one was most likely to come to life. It had to include an educational space and recreational area in addition to improved aesthetics.
“There’s plans to have some games painted out there and [it can] also be an area for kids to eat lunch and for our older kids to have a place where they can hangout and socialize in appropriate ways,” Housh said.
Contact Whitney Vickers at 937-502-4532.