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K-12 Curriculum

NY Sun Works has created our Discovering Sustainability Science Curriculum to support the work of teachers in our Hydroponic Classrooms. Our programming has been designed by an in-house team of science educators to meet the needs of the diverse range of students. Our goal is to ensure that all students, with all types of learning styles and needs, experience the joyful and confidence-building effects of growing crops from seed-to-harvest while learning about climate and sustainability.

Through our hands-on, project-based approach to learning, we inspire students to ask questions, investigate systems, make predictions, and design solutions. Our year-round K-12 curriculum is thoughtfully tailored to each grade level and aligned to Next Generation Science Standards. We begin with our Farming Foundations series, which takes students through hydroponic farming from seed-to-harvest. Grade-specific Extension Units then provide lessons that are designed to overlap and complement the NYC DOE Science Scope and Sequence and K-8 Amplify Science Units.

Our comprehensive curriculum is designed to provide teachers with at least one lesson per grade for an entire school year. All K-12 lessons are aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards and build on each other so that students can grow from elementary through high school.

We provide comprehensive training and support to teachers so that they can confidently integrate farming and climate-focused curriculum into their classroom teaching. All teachers receive one-on-one support from a grade level-specific curriculum specialist, who will help them to figure out how to best use the curriculum based on their individual classroom needs. We also offer monthly professional development opportunities where teachers can dig deeper into specific topics in a collaborative environment.

NY Sun Works’ curriculum transforms students into Farmer Scientists and global citizens, introducing them to sustainability science and climate education through hands-on hydroponic farming.

Our programming meets students where they are. Lessons are tailored to each grade level and can be taught independently and sequentially. Each teacher is provided with enough online curriculum to teach at least one lesson per week per grade level for an entire school year. Materials provided include detailed lesson plans, lesson presentations, and students journal pages with embedded formative assessments. Additionally, we dedicate careful attention to accessibility and inclusivity with the goal of fully supporting our special education school partners and English Language Learners. We want to reignite the spark of joy when it comes to learning for students in our partner schools, transforming the educational experience into one where they feel excited to grow alongside their crops.

Explore our comprehensive K-12 curriculum by grade level

  • K-5 Curriculum
    • With an emphasis on visual learning and easy-to-read instructions, our K-5 curriculum focuses on engagement, communication, and confidence-building skill sets. Our lesson plans combine discussion and observation with thoughtful consideration and journaling, while introducing students to the idea of farming as a science. Students create connections between their actions and the impact they have on our environment. Lessons and activities are tailored to each grade level in order to be accessible and developmentally appropriate, and include supplemental materials for differentiated needs.
    • At the Middle School level, we’ve scaled up the emphasis on maintaining the Hydroponic Classroom, encouraging students to grow as Farmer Scientists by providing complex experiential connections in every lesson. Students learn about topics in plant biology and ecology, human impact on the environment, sustainability, climate science, and waste management, and will come to recognize their place and connection to the natural world and how humans depend on nature to grow, thrive, and survive. Students are encouraged to think about their personal actions and choices, the impact they have on the natural world, and the role they can play in protecting the environment. Additionally, students start to think about their interests and potential opportunities in the growing green careers field.
  • 9-12 Curriculum
    • For High School students, curriculum and lessons encourage thinking beyond the walls of the Hydroponic Classroom. Through scaffolded modules and subject-specific science labs, students examine their own ecological footprints, identify global life science issues, and imagine creative solutions to them. Our 9-12 curriculum is designed for required courses including Living Environment/Biology, Chemistry, and AP Environmental Science, and can also be used for a hydroponics elective course. The labs can be used to fulfill the lab time requirement for the NYS Regents exams.


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