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Two Fantastic STEM Projects Finish the Year!

 Grades 4-5 visit Troy Farmers Market to education about reducing single use plastics by growing hydroponically
 
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!
 
This past Saturday, 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!
 

Lighting Up the Night: Our Pavilion!

 
This Saturday also saw the first lighting of our pavilion! With the help of parent Zack Bradt and science teacher John Sherry, Parker 8th graders installed a solar panel and wiring to bring lighting to this remote campus location. This weekend, they tested their work for the first time, and it lit up the night! The lights come on at dusk and turn off about three hours later (although the battery stores enough energy to last longer). As a bonus, the panel features a USB outlet, so pavilion visitors can charge their devices with solar power too. The light is even bright enough to be seen from Route 43! We are so grateful to Zack for bringing lighting to the pavilion, and for doing so in a way that keeps with Parker’s values on sustainability. Eighth graders, the future looks bright in your capable hands!
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