By Alicia Venter
600 STEM Hydroponic Kits, also known as “Science in a Box” kits, were distributed to three elementary schools in Southeast Queens on Friday, Jan. 13.
The schools that received the kits include PS 54, The Hillside School; PS 99, The Kew Gardens School; and PS 144, The Col. Jeromus Remsen School in Forest Hills.
The hydroponic kits were provided by NY Sun Works — a non-profit organization that builds innovative science labs in urban schools — in partnership with local council member Lynn Schulman.
The kits came equipped with a 10-lesson climate and science curriculum meant to enable students, with a teacher’s guidance, to grow, study and run investigations with plants.
They are designed to expose students to hydroponic farming technology on a miniature, hands-on level.
“Our kids only get one chance at a good education. That is why I am thrilled to partner with New York Sun Works to deliver 600 hydroponic STEM kits to local schools throughout Council District 29,” said Schulman in a press release. “These kits will be paired with a 10-lesson curriculum that teaches students the importance of sustainability and urban agriculture while enhancing their observation and data collection skills. I look forward to seeing the final results from this unique and vital life lesson program.”
The schools also received the Discovering Sustainability Science curriculum, and teachers are provided the tools to tailor the curriculum to address the needs of the students.
The program will reach more than 1000 elementary-age students at the three schools, all located in the 29th Council District that Schulman represents.
“We are excited to engage young learners in plant biology by delivering hundreds of interactive and innovative STEM kits in Queens with Council Member Lynn Schulman,” said Manuela Zamora, NY Sun Works Executive Director in a press release. “We are fully committed to fostering the love for science to every New York City public school student and these kits are an incredible introduction to hydroponic farming that teach climate and the science of sustainability.”
NY Sun Works first introduced the ‘Science in a Box’ Hydroponic Kit program in September 2020. More than 5,000 kits were distributed last year, for both classroom and at-home learning.
In a 2021 study conducted by social science research organization Knology, the kits and curriculum “embody innovation, flexibility, hands-on learning, and critical thinking.
For more information on NY Sun Works, visit nysunworks.org/.