Troy first graders learn by growing

TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — With school underway and a big focus on a return to normal, some first graders in Troy are getting their hands dirty with sunflowers!

“I like it when it’s growing super fast,” Elnor Thomas said.

These students planted the sunflowers when they were in kindergarten last spring with college students from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. 

The project gives them a hands-on experience with science experiments and most importantly, asking questions.

“It’s good to show students so young that there are possibilities that being a scientist isn’t the craziest thing in the world and that it is possible, that everybody is a scientist,” Dr. Jennifer Hurley, Richard Baruch Career Development Professor, said.

As the flowers grow, they get to see how they move with the sun and follow circadian rhythms just like animals and humans.

“Not only do kids learn about science but they learn about how to be healthy, how to sleep at the right times, how to get up at the right times and that helps them with their health too,” Hurley said.

The project is part of an award from the National Science Foundation to bring science education to underrepresented communities. 

“We thought we could reach out to younger kids who might not get the experience learning firsthand at universities like RPI to teach them how to be scientists.,” Hurley said.

The project getting five star reviews from the students, who are getting a new appreciation for all things green.

“I did science and I saw the flowers,” first grader Jayce Rosario said. “Science is the best,” Armani Clark said.

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