STEM Projects Finish Out the Year

At te Troy Farmer’s Market, students demonstrate and educate about reusing plastic containers to grow food.

Parker students enjoy a beautiful campus, unique in the Capital District. With more acres per student than any other school, our students quickly come to appreciate the environment and learn their role in ensuring our planet remains beautiful and sustained for years to come.

This spring, our 4/5 science students were inspired by guest speaker and Parker parent Jes Marcy. Jes talked to the students about the impact of single use plastics on our environment. Little of this plastic actually makes it through the recycling process, instead becoming solid waste. Finding new uses for plastic containers helps keep them from our landfills.

Jes showed the students how she uses plastic bottles to grow food hydroponically. By retrofitting the bottle with a special mesh cap at the neck, food plants can be grown indoors with only a little space in a special nutrient solution. Moved to action, the 4/5 students designed their own mesh caps and printed them on Parker’s 3-D printer. They successfully grew a variety of greens here at school. Inspired to take their learning further, science teacher Leiana Hawkins then arranged for Parker to host a table at the Troy Farmers Market. Our students were eager to teach others!

They took what they learned to the Troy Farmers Marker where our 4/5 students tirelessly invited shoppers to learn about reducing single use plastic and growing food. They showed their process, shared statistics about plastics, and taught visitors about hydroponics. Asking adults to listen to information about plastic pollution is not easy, and not every passer-by said yes. The students learned a lot about persistence, but they also reaped rewards for their efforts: “The people who did listen were SO fantastic and receptive to learning from young people. The students really reached a lot of ears,” said Leiana. “I am so proud of them.”

This was the second group of students to show Parker’s program at the farmers market (our chorus sang at the indoor market this winter). We are proud that Parker students are such confident and caring members of our community!