On Monday, September 29, 2014, a new nutrition-based curriculum was introduced to a sixth-grade science classroom at Chicago’s Mozart School. The culmination of 10 months of arts-based innovation training and visionary teamwork, this day marked the public launch of Growing Innovations from the national Art of Science Learning project.
Growing Innovations was conceived, developed and implemented by a team of Art of Science Learning fellows housed at the project’s Chicago Incubator for Innovation. The diverse and talented team includes Rebecca Kornack (a middle school science teacher at Mozart School), Brenda Silva Lopez (Project Coordinator for a University of Illinois prototyping and design team), Candice Latimer (a Chicago-based teaching artist) and Chandan Dasgupta (a PhD candidate in Learning Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago). The novel curriculum is aligned with the recently-released Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Over the past six weeks Rebecca’s students have studied topics including biology, physics and chemistry and developed engineering and mathematics skills used to design growing systems. Utilizing their own in-class hydroponic system, students have developed technology that uses sensors and requires basic programming skills to record and evaluate plant growth.
While the Growing Innovations team continues to enrich and test the curriculum inside the Mozart School it looks forward to developing it into a national model of STEM and nutrition education. In addition, the team is hard at work developing a business plan for the project and investigating funding options for future project development.