October 4, 2013
Ridgemont High School, Mt. Victory, OH—Environmental science teacher Araina Johnson and creative writing teacher Hannah Rust have combined efforts to lead their students in a service-learning project that will benefit younger students, libraries and charities in the area, and the Columbus Zoo!
Johnson’s students are studying habitats, and Rust’s students are studying children’s literature. Together, the 35 students in these two classes are researching and working to write a children’s book about Rupert the Tiger, who thinks he is bored with his habitat at the zoo, so he visits other animals in their habitats to see where he wants to live.
As part of the research process, the students will visit the Columbus Zoo to see the habitats and animals they are researching. Once they have completed their text and storyboarded ideas for illustrations, the classes will consult with Ridgemont’s art students for help illustrating the book.
The students plan to self-publish their book and then give presentations and read-alouds at Ridgemont Elementary School to teach younger students what they learned. As an extension of the project, the classes will research libraries and organizations in Columbus, and each student will have the opportunity to choose where to donate a copy of the book.
In the process, these teachers and students will undoubtedly also raise awareness about the Columbus Zoo and its work to educate about animals and habitats—an indirect benefit of the project, but one more example of how service-learning makes the world a better place.