On June 2nd, students from County Prep’s Hydroponics class participated in a youth conference entitled “Discovering Sustainability Science” sponsored by the New York Sun Works. County Prep presented in the second session entitled “Building a Sustainable Future”, which focused on urban farming, growing population, and food systems. The conference was streamed live over the internet from Symphony Space in Manhattan.

The students participated in the Hydroponic Games Module where they learned major science concepts through hands-on activities, critical thinking, and by interacting with greenhouse technologies within the classroom setting. By using recycled and household materials, students worked in groups to design, build, and implement a functional hydroponic system that would operate efficiently in the growth of various leafy greens such as basil and lettuce. Each group was also required to assemble a well-designed owner’s manual that explains the assembly and maintenance process of the system. After construction of the systems, the students were in charge of maintaining their tank and tracking the plant growth by using a free app on their cell phones called “GroLog”.

Upon completion of the projects, the students produced a video with the help of Ms. Pica’s video production class to document their projects and presented the video at the live event. The presenters, Dana Suthammanont and Yoonjin Shu provided the introduction to the video while Marcelo Bulatovic added commentary and acknowledgements on stage.

The students utilized the scientific method, critical thinking skills, and trial and error methods with a splash of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics to bring their designs to fruition. The County Prep Hydroponics class, taught by Nicholas La Volpe and Stephanie Szymanski, is proud to have completed this challenge and they remain committed to the advancement of environmental education through hands-on learning.

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