NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- Inquisitive children at Trinity Elementary are halfway through a three-class series that traces kernels of corn to a warm bowl of hot popcorn in the "Popcorn Project."
Educators from Hudson Park Children's Greenhouse met with the second-graders earlier in the year to visit the corn crop that they planted on school grounds last year as first-graders. The stalks, tended by students in the summer program, produced ample cobs. In the first day of the sequence, the students visited the raised beds to observe firsthand the results of their planting. The stalks were pulled out and the cobs were allowed to dry.
Two weeks later, in the second day of the sequence, educator Naomi Gams-Towers presented the dried stalks to the students and they identified parts. Each child was given a corn cob to measure, observe with a magnifying glass and document findings. They produced sketches and notations. A highlight of the class was a video of the kernel-to-plant growth cycle.
Educator Joyce Kent brought a fully germinating Indian corn cob for the class to experience. Kent had put the dried corn cob horizontally in water for two weeks and the kernels sprouted into bright green stalks. The children gingerly pulled off individual seedlings. In the final session, students will pop the corn in a clear air-popper and learn the science of the kernel explosion. A companion children's book will reinforce the learning.
The Hudson Park Children's Greenhouse committee will work with the same students through fifth grade to design a garden program that can be replicated throughout the grades. Funding for this program was provided by a Westchester County Board of Legislators grant. The raised beds were built with funds from theNew Rochelle Fund for Educational Excellence.