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GRANTEE:Queens College's Into the Woods Project Hosts Science and Art Symposium

Published June 2014


Students from PS 205Q present "Trash to Treasure", a composting project using cafeteria waste to create compost for the school's garden.  The fourth grade students asked their teacher if they could do something to improve the soil after engaging in a study of soils around the school. 

On May 9th, 630 elementary school students, representing 10 schools from four boroughs of New York City, gathered for a special event to celebrate their forays into natural areas around their schools. Queens College's GLOBE New York Metro Program hosted the Science and Art Symposium. It was the culminating event for a group of teachers and their classes participating in the Into the Woods (ITW) project funded through NOAA's Environmental Literacy Grants Program. This four-year project is now finishing its second year.

At the heart of ITW is a series of professional development workshops for teachers designed to help them become comfortable leading classes outdoors. During the workshops the teachers learn about and explore natural systems and develop class management skills that work outdoors. They work together to identify areas in the curriculum where they can replace traditional indoor lesson activities with appropriate outdoor alternatives. The Symposium is a forum for their students to showcase the work they have done related to these outdoor activities. This work consists of year long research projects focused on natural areas around the school, including soil studies, pond studies, cloud observations, phenology, and general explorations of local areas. ITW has deep roots in art, social studies, and language arts, and there were samples of students' artwork and writing on display.


Third grade students from PS 32x created individual dioramas based on their investigation of macro-invertebrates in pond of Crotona Park in the Bronx.

Beyond showing their presentations and viewing the presentations of other classes, the students were entertained with a science show put on by members of the college's Science is Fun club. The students were led on a tour of the campus by volunteers from the college's Elementary & Early Childhood Education Department and a number of science departments.

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