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$4,000 grant gives A.W. Becker exciting STEM opportunity

What started as an idea create two self-sustaining ecosystems at A.W. Becker, will now be a reality thanks to a $4,000 Lowe’s Toolbox for Education Grant. Enrichment teacher, Damien Verga created a plan to design and build both aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems that could be used school-wide for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education.

The project will give students an opportunity to learn about a range of topics, including food chains, symbiosis, the water cycle and the carbon cycle. It will also give students hands-on lessons to understand how groups of living and non-living components are linked together to create an ecosystem.

“By understanding the links, we can begin the conversation on how to limit damage, conserve or restore the living world around us,” Verga said.

A 3-D printer will also allow students to design and build eco-models which will be a tangible learning tool, letting students see the ecosystems from the inside out. It is an experience Verga hopes will help foster learning and problem solving in a real-world environment.

“Receiving the grant was very exciting,” Acting Principal, Debra Neubart said. “We can’t wait to introduce this experience to the kids in the fall!”