September 6, 2018
Hot off the press: NEW K-5th grade curriculum aligned to the 2018 NYC Science Scope and Sequence
It has been a busy summer at NY Sun Works! Our curriculum development team has designed an entire new set of lessons for Kindergarten to 5th grades that are aligned to the NGSS and the 2018 NYC Science Scope and Sequence. The curriculum is available to all NY Sun Works partner schools and it will be accessible through our online Learning Center.
How does the NY Sun Works program align with the new NYC Science Scope and Sequence? The NY Sun Works K-5th new curriculum is specifically designed to match the unit themes of the 2018 NYC Science Scope and Sequence. In fact, it offers small targeted lessons that directly link to NYC’s mandated science units of study, answer the specified essential question, and address specific performance expectations while providing meaningful connections to sustainability science. In addition, all lessons have a direct connection with the students’ jobs and interactions with the hydroponic systems in a typical NY Sun Works Greenhouse Classroom.
What makes NY Sun Works curriculum unique? The use of hydroponic technology in the classroom allows students to have a 3D approach to learning science while understanding the much needed connections to sustainability. Our curriculum aims to raise student awareness of the developing and complex environmental challenges our planet faces and to introduce them to innovative solutions to some of those challenges. Our goal is to instill a passion for science, inspire stewardship for the planet, introduce an understanding of the need for sustainability science, and to foster a commitment to change attitudes and behaviors for a sustainable future. Students using our curriculum will not only be exposed to the mandated science standards but will also benefit from an increased awareness and knowledge about sustainable development and their role as global citizens.
How is the new K-5th grade curriculum organized? Our curriculum is designed to offer two distinct but connected avenues for student learning: The Greenhouse Classroom Connect and The Sustainability Extension.
The GHC Connect lessons are designed in sets, typically trios, and augment the NYC Scope and Sequence science units of study as they reinforce the standards being taught within that unit. These lessons can be implemented at any point, but will have maximum impact when taught within the connected science unit.
The Sustainability Extension, also designed in sets, exposes students to current environmental concerns and models sustainable solutions for living in a changing world. The Sustainability Extension includes hands-on projects, engineering tasks, and opportunities to create citizen action campaigns, to empower and inspire students to feel that they can affect meaningful and positive change in their communities and their own lives.
The new K-5th grade curriculum also offers special features such as the NY Sun Works Report. These are short, easy to read, highly visual and engaging reports of different topics covered in a lesson. They are designed to be used to guide learning and provide in-depth research. The NY Sun Works Reports are written by science experts and contributors. The new lessons also include differentiation for English Language Learners and ideas for students who need more support or more challenges.
What is the best way to start off the year? We created a new Farming Foundations Unit to make teaching with the GHC Connect and the Sustainability Extension a success for every teacher. This serves as an introduction to all grades and provides a structure for establishing and maintaining a year round hydroponic farming classroom. This introductory unit comes with a toolkit for each of the hydroponic systems and includes materials to help students learn and interact with them. Word Wall cards, hand lenses, tweezers, tape measures, and other tools will be used by students to get the most out of their hydroponic farming experience along with “jobs” or class assignments that will support the teacher with maintenance tasks. In this way, teachers can teach, grow, and harvest throughout the year, having students manage the systems while being engaged in learning with a hands-on approach.
What can teachers expect as they teach science through the lens of urban farming?
Urban farming in the classroom can be very exciting. Plants grow fast since they are in a controlled environment, keeping students invested and engaged throughout the process. It is proven that higher order thinking, academic performance, and student engagement are all boosted by exposure to this type of program. Furthermore, teachers can expect abundant harvests of fresh and delicious hydroponic vegetables throughout the year.
We look forward to working together in the implementation of this new curriculum, and to another exciting year in collaboration!