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It’s My Park Day
It’s My Park Day is a city wide event happening throughout the spring and summer, in parks around New York City. On Sunday May 3, CityScience co- hosted It’s My Park Day, at Corlears Hook Park. There were several family friendly activities provided that taught about nature, and the engineering of the Williamsburg Bridge that stretches overhead. There were also fun volunteer opportunities to keep our park clean. It’s My Park day will continue in several parks around the city, check the schedule here to come out, have fun, and show your love for your park!
STEM Fair at IS 254
On April 10th, we had an amazing day with students from ACDP and COMPASS. There was a range of hands-on STEM activities that taught a bunch of topics like engineering, plant anatomy, and physics. These middle school students loved solving creative problems in teams. Above, in an engineering design challenge, students built bridges and towers with disks to test their problem solving skills while having a little bit of fun.
Wheat Grass Grows in Brooklyn
The PS 114 greenhouse was built in 1987, and has largely sat under-utilized for the last decade. Together with CAMBA, CityScience has been working to bring the greenhouse back to life. Garden educator, Jacqueline Roytman, founder of Snap to Grow, has a spring STEM residency planned, with a number of fast germinating plants and activities that will sprout edibles, and students’ interest in STEM. Stay tuned for the Mother’s Day Begonia project!
Tinker Training for Afterschool Marker Space
Today, CityScience provided training on how to incorporate tinkering and making into afterschool programs. Creating a Maker Space for students is what he hope to achieve—a learning environment where k-8 students can tinker, design, and create together. It encourages experimentation, open-ended exploration, and hands-on STEM discovery. This training included experiential learning, in which teachers were challenged with a bridge design and electronics projects. We loved energizing teachers to get in the minds of their students and complete these projects together. Forming Maker Spaces for students is just another way to strengthen STEM in our New York City schools.
Connecting Physical and Kinetic Activities To learning
As students’ education around the country become more and more structured, it seems that play time is on the decline. Michael Kasdan, CityScience Chairperson, was recently on CNN’s The Daily Share discussing the implications of an education system, in which testing is taking over recess. Michael states that kids need to have unstructured playtime for kids to function in school. “It’s the school’s responsibility to think creatively on how to harness play,” Michael said. “I’m working with a nonprofit, CityScience, where we are looking creatively to use kids energy to teach, to get outdoors, to integrate activity with curriculum.” At CityScience, instead of eliminating play time, there is an effort to integrate it into education.
Congratulations Youth Corps
Congratulations to NJCDC, the National Parks System, and to the Great Falls Youth Corps on completing their fourth summer of important STEM learning and work in Paterson, New Jersey’s new National Park. It was a pleasure leading the Youth Corps in its formative years and a pleasure watching a program build on the principles of STEM education fused with Service Learning and community outreach.
This year, the Youth Corps members went on a camping trip in Boston Harbor as part of the programs effort to broaden their understanding of the National Park Service’s mission, opportunities for careers and recreational adventures. The youths went on ferry tours of Boston Harbor and trolley tours of the City. They also marched along Boston’s Freedom trail. As said in this article about the Youth Corps’ contributions, “This is a program that demonstrates the power of young people to make a meaningful difference in their own community. Read more here!
Project Wild Training
Building the capacity of your staff to lead high-quality STEM activities can be cost effective and make an impact. Today, the staff from Jacob Riis Settlement House and CityScience convened for a fantastic and free Project Wild training led by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). For those of you in the NYC region, add Brittany Delio to your contact list (bgdileo [at] gw.dec.state.ny.us), she is the new Environmental Educator Coordinator for our region and a pleasure to coordinate trainings with. Click to learn more about Project Wet, and for a couple of dollars you can pick up a great book that will help elementary students understand wildlife in the city, Go Wild in NYC by Brad Matsen.
Harbor Literacy Points Released Today
Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance’s Harbor Literacy Points was released today during the City of Water Day celebrations. Designed to integrate the study of our harbor, rivers, and estuary into the everyday curriculum of elementary, middle, and high school students, the Harbor Literacy Points has been in the works for over a year, and is now a fantastic resource for educators, teachers, and the public. CityScience was pleased to contribute to the Harbor Literacy Points as a member of the Harbor Education Task Force. Download the Harbor Literacy Points by clicking here!
Assisting Summer Camps
This summer CityScience is partnering with DYCD to support a summer of STEM by providing curriculum, kits, webinars, technical assistance, and field trips for twelve local summer camps. CityScience STEM Coach, Matt Patrick, recently led one of these field trips, from the Grand Street Settlement House to the Brooklyn Bridge Park. This educational adventure was part of the Department of Youth and Community Development’s “City Transformers” Summer Program. On this trip students had the opportunity to build bridges. This activity focused on the mapping and engineering themes of bridges, as well as teamwork, as campers worked together to build successful bridges.
This activity is similar to CityScience’s suspension bridge project published in Scientific American’s Bringing Science Home. You can find this activity here, and try it at home!
Happy Last Day of School
The 2013-2014 school year was an exhilarating period of growth and education…especially in the greenhouse at PS 114. CityScience was lucky enough to work with PS 114 in an afterschool program utilizing their basement greenhouse. Although it has been out of commission for a long time, CityScience helped reestablish the wonderful potential in the basement greenhouse. Working with first, second, and third graders, coaches at CityScience led classrooms that not only learned about worms, compost, seeds, and flowers, but got their hands dirty by interacting with these topics head-on. Students made their own compost, dissected seeds and flowers, and even grew their own radish plants. Classrooms in the greenhouse at PS 114 surely have the potential to grow in the future.
Even though this program is over and the school year has ended, learning shouldn’t end. We hope everyone has a fun and memorable summer and takes time to enjoy and explore the outdoors. Thank you for every school, student, and educator we worked with this school year.
Students who understand and appreciate science from a young age are going to be the future of the Green Economy.Sean Raigel CEO CarpetCycle & Corporate Sponsor