OMS Math & Science Teacher Mr. Alkire talks about his experiences teaching a STREAM school at his previous district.
OMS unveiled their new nature-based education program at the latest PTO meeting. It's a STREAM school that will be offered for a 7th grade class in the fall.

Mr. Alkire and Hope College's Dr. Scogin spoke with a packed house of parents and students on Tuesday night to outline the research and success of nature-based education and how the OMS class will look for next year. It will be a 2-hour block for 32 7th grade students. The time will include both math and science and will be a classroom dedicated to taking the learning outside, in real environments to learn about things that impact our local community. Students are receiving their applications on March 15th and they are due March 21st by 2:46pm to the main office. The information below was handed out at the meeting.   


STREAM (Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Art, Mathematics) School is a unique opportunity for students provided through a partnership between Otsego Public Schools and the Kalamazoo Nature Center. STREAM School students learn valuable science and math content alongside everyday skills needed for success in today's world while connecting their learning to the outdoors. The program offers a complex project-based learning (PBL) experience that places students outside and redefines what a classroom looks like.


STREAM School engages students in outdoor and local community endeavors connecting critical content with the skills necessary to achieve future life goals. Through this mission we provide a “non-traditional” classroom setting.  STREAM School moves education outside the walls of the classroom and into authentic environments where math and science content plays out on a daily basis. Projects incorporate the Michigan Department of Education’s curriculum standards.



Otsego Public Schools believes that an inquiry-based atmosphere, using project-based learning, allows us to meet the needs of all of our students in preparing them for a successful future. In addition, projects need to connect to real world opportunities because our students want to connect their learning to the world in which they live. Teachers work alongside local professionals in developing project ideas that connect the content to the project. In order to facilitate this experience, it takes a community of people doing more together. The Kalamazoo Nature Center & Michigan State University provides the resources and support necessary to develop and manage the STREAM School projects. Teachers work alongside a number of professions (research scientists, naturalists, businesses and organizations, etc.) in designing authentic and engaging educational experiences. In addition, students are given an opportunity to explore and think about how their passions and interests could play out in the future. Students consistently have opportunities to witness a variety of jobs and future possibilities!


Nathan Alkire, a 7th grade math and science teacher at OMS, along with staff members from the Kalamazoo Nature Center will be the facilitators for STREAM School.Teacher Mr. Alkire works with a student during his nature-based education program in Hamilton.


Nathan came to Otsego after spending 14 years teaching at Hamilton Middle School.  In 2013, Nathan helped to facilitate the creation of STREAM School, a partnership between Hamilton Community Schools and the Outdoor Discovery Center.


All current OPS 6th grade students can apply for STREAM School.  There will be 32 applicants selected for the 2017-18 school year.



Project-based learning is a teaching method in which students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to an authentic, engaging and complex question, problem, or challenge. In Gold Standard PBL, Essential Project Design Elements include:

Key Knowledge, Understanding, and Success Skills

The project is focused on student learning goals, including standards-based content and skills such as critical thinking/problem solving, collaboration, communication, and self-management.


Challenging Problem or Question

The project is framed by a meaningful problem to solve or a question to answer, at the appropriate level of challenge.


Sustained Inquiry

Students engage in a rigorous, extended process of asking questions, finding resources, and applying information.



The project features real-world context, tasks and tools, quality standards, or impact – or speaks to students’ personal concerns, interests, and issues in their lives.


Student Voice & Choice

Students make some decisions about the project, including how they work and what they create.



Students and teachers reflect on learning, the effectiveness of their inquiry and project activities, the quality of student work, obstacles and how to overcome them.


Critique & Revision

Students give, receive, and use feedback to improve their process and products.


Public Product

Students make their project work public by explaining, displaying and/or presenting it to people beyond the classroom.


Along with these essential skills, STREAM School will also focus on a number of the 21st century skills, sometimes referred to as soft skills or the Skills4Success.  The focus for the 2017-18 school year will be:

Collaboration & Global Thinking

The ability to effectively collaborate and work as a member of a diverse team in order to achieve a common goal. This involves knowing 1) how and when to demonstrate leadership within the team, 2) how to think globally about an issue/problem, and 3) how to effectively resolve conflict.


The ability to effectively communicate a message or an idea to someone else through verbal and nonverbal means. Included within this is the ability to know how and when to listen to others' communication and how to use communication to build interpersonal relationships with others.


Critical Thinking & Problem Solving

The ability to generate innovative and creative solutions & problem solving to issues of interest through the gathering, analysis and evaluation of relevant information. This includes thinking through 1) how possible solutions fit into and affect a larger system, 2) the validity of information and claims that others present, and 3) the potential consequences of proposed solutions.

Personal Accountability

The ability to productively work toward a goal with a positive attitude. Included within this is being reliable and dependable (e.g. being present and punctual) and having the confidence to take risks and hold oneself and other accountable for their work.

STREAM School will be offered during the 2017-18 school year.  The class is set up in a two-hour block; students will spend 3rd and 4th Hour in STREAM School.

On March 15th, all 6th grade students will receive an application for STREAM School.  The application is due on March 21st at 2:46pm.  All applications are to be turned into the OMS office.

On March 29th, a committee will review the applications.

On April 21st, the committee will mail acceptance letters home to the applicants chosen.


If you have any questions, please contact Nathan Alkire at OMS.