The 7-8s’ science program focuses on the interconnectedness of living things and their environments. The cornerstone of this program is our trips to Central Park and the Urban Assembly Garden on 84th Street and Amsterdam, places where students are able to formally extend their scientific learning as well as informally make a close bond with the natural world. In the fall, we utilize the park to study the lives of trees. In the classroom, students work with and care for various decomposers such as pill bugs, worms and millipedes. Outdoors, students hunt for fungi, search for insects in rotting logs and observe natural decay first hand.
At the Urban Assembly Garden, students take on the role of caretakers of the MCS garden plot. They learn about the characteristics of various seasonal crops, the conditions in which they best grow, and then choose which seeds they would like to plant. Following seed planting, the students rotate each week through different garden jobs that help maintain a thriving school garden while also directing their investigations in this natural space.
In the winter, students explore human habitats through creating electrical circuits and learning about energy and its cycles and consumption. In the spring, we return to our studies of the natural world through investigations in Central Park and continued work in the Urban Assembly Garden. In preparation for the students’ spring farm trip, we compare and contrast these urban green spaces to what students may experience at the MCS Farm.