Although there may still be some snow on the ground, it is the perfect time of year to start the process of making maple syrup. Through the project-based learning program in our RCS Elementary Schools, our students are getting to do just that! The students will be taken through the entire process of making syrup until they have a finished product.
But before they could select their trees, 2nd and 4th grade students at Pieter B. Elementary and 2nd graders at A.W. Becker Elementary needed to figure out where to start. First, they needed to come up with a set of questions to research in order to start the project. How do we identify which trees are Maples? What tools and equipment will we need? How do we collect the sap?
They spent the next few days doing research in books and on the internet to answer these key questions. Then, the hands-on aspect of the project began! Last week, the students identified maple trees on their campus. They then got to drill the holes and set up their sap lines. The sap will be collected and monitored by the classrooms until they have enough to move on to the next stage of the process.
“The students had an absolute blast learning about the maple trees and starting the sap collection process,” said Project-Based Learning Coach Melinda White. “This project will last over the course of the next couple of months, and we cannot wait to taste the syrup the students make. This is a fantastic opportunity for our students to use hands-on learning to explore what resources our environment has to offer.”
They have a lot of fun activities planned to expand their knowledge of sap and syrup, including entering both syrups into the New York Agriculture in the Classroom's annual Schoolyard Sugaring Contest.
Stay tuned to see what the next step is on their syrup-making journey!