Elementary STEAM Program Starts the Year With Field Trips to Governor’s Island & Liberty State Park
Updated: Oct 1, 2021
This year, each class at Hudson Montessori School is studying a unique facet of the power of nature, this year’s connecting theme found in every class, subject, and grade level.
Our Upper Elementary STEAM program works closely with several state organizations and universities that monitor and rehabilitate local waterways. Our STEAM students have participated in the Day in the Life of the Hudson River Program since 2015 and will participate in the Billion Oyster Project for the first time this year. The Upper Elementary students recently visited the project’s headquarters on Governor’s Island to view the research stations, see shrimp, crabs, and other species that use oyster reefs as their habitat, and helped to build oyster crates.
The Billion Oyster Project grew out of a dire problem with the New York Harbor. The harbor was once bursting with oysters, but pollution and overfishing caused the oyster population to dwindle to dangerously low levels. Hudson Montessori students learned that oysters help break down waves, filter pollutants, and oyster reefs are a habitat for other wildlife in the ecosystem.
Since 2014, the Billion Oyster Project has installed over 50 million oysters in New York’s harbors and hopes to reach one billion by 2035 with the community’s help.
Our STEAM staff trained over the summer with the Billion Oyster Project and were assigned a research station where students can help monitor the oysters after they are deployed. The students will take readings this fall and next spring, giving some insight into the health and growth of the oyster population.
“We want the students to experience being community scientists,” said Dr. Grace Sanvictores, one of our STEAM lead teachers. “The goal is to connect the students back to their Hudson River home.”
Our Lower Elementary students from grades 1 through 3 are also learning the importance of our local Hudson River ecology. On their field trip, the students walked to the Liberty State Park Nature Center— within walking distance—to learn more about
the local food web, tides, and ecosystem. Students enjoyed visiting the “Night Room,” a narrated sensorial exhibit where they learned about nocturnal animals.
Liberty State Park is a part of the Hudson River Estuary system. From a floating dock on a pond, students used nets to catch, study, and release shrimp, fish, dragonflies, nymph flies, and damselflies. The classes especially enjoyed examining the exoskeleton of a water scorpion.
Hudson Montessori School believes it’s essential to connect students with nature, their community, and help them find their place in the world as global citizens. These field trips are only the first of many special activities our students will participate in as they continue to study the power of nature throughout the year.