We have participated in CityScience trips for the past 3 years, and each trip has been an amazing and engaging experience for our third grade students. We highly recommend CityScience to any school interested in connecting what they are learning in science to a real world outdoor experience. It is truly a hands-on learning adventure.
Serving as CityScience's Chairperson, I can attest to the passion and quality of CityScience's staff and leadership. Never before have I seen such a resourceful group committed to working in economically disadvantaged communities.
If you believe every child deserves a high-quality science education and that learning from your local environment is a great place to start elementary and middle schoolers - then be rest assured CityScience is a great place to donate your time and money.
Please continue reading my colleague's review below. Well said Mike....
After serving as a founding member of CityScience's board of directors, I have experienced a number of the organization's milestones. With 7 years under our belt, I write this review looking backwards as well as forwards.
Looking back, I ask myself what have we learned?
1. Being client driven is critical. Our very best engagements have been the product of strong relationships with our partners as much as the STEM content, trainings and kits.
2. We are lucky to have strong earned revenue (around 66% of total budget) and fundraising filling the remaining gap. We have never really invested in a development and recognize as a board that greater investments in fundraising acumen are necessary.
3. We have been scrappy and benefited from several generous in-kind contributions. During start-up mode, NY Lawyers for the Public Interest paired us with Skadden Arps who handled IP transfer from our predecessor and did a first rate job with our 501(c)(3) application and bylaws. The Durst Organization gave us free rent for 2.5 years. Bank of NY Mellon, threw us a first-class fundraiser atop the Met Life Building. All Star Movers, has moved us 4 times for cost. Over 150 High School, University, and STEM Pros have volunteered to help us hone our curriculum. For the last 7 months, ghSMART has mentored and helped our ED navigate organizational design decisions. And last summer, Two Trees donated office space for Data Cubed's 55 person corporate volunteer day in DUMBO that prepared 10,000 circuit kits. I know I am forgetting dozens of others -THANK YOU Everyone!
Looking forward, the board is focused on addressing needs that will secure the organization's future.
1. Our talent pipeline has been strong but our retention is weak. Historically, we have attracted a talented and diverse staff, only to watch them go off to lead STEM programs at: Bk. Botanic Garden, Bk. Children's Museum, Solar One, the Highline, Dept. of Edu, environmental centers, and the American Museum of Natural History. Improved salaries and benefits will do lots to stop the churn.
2. We need to grow the board at this stage in our nonprofit lifecycle. Using our board member matrix, the nominating committee has begun recruiting. I suspect in 2018-19, a few key figures will recognize CityScience's pump has been primed and that their fundraising and guidance will take us to a whole new level. Over 80% of nonprofits have budgets below 500k - CityScience is ready for its breakthrough moment.
3. Together, 1 and 2, determines the future of CityScience. It will not be a linear process but it will be iterative and innovative. After working with Thor (our founder & ED), I can attest to that.
In conclusion, visit our new website (launches 11/5/17) and click on the "Get Involved" page. Your donations will be well used and every volunteer walks away knowing they made a difference in urban K-8 STEM education.
CityScience has routinely stood out to us with their commitment to work and willingness to go the extra mile with thinking about support to students and teachers. The projects they bring in a exciting and interesting - everyone learns and most importantly it brings the excitement into learning.
City Science is one of the most innovative and creative STEM organizations I have come to know well in New York City. The organization, now seven years old, provides resources and training for STEM staff in many NYC organizations designed to increase the quality of STEM education for those working with staff serving preK - 8th grade students. City Science has created curricula for these age groups designed to "integrate an understanding of the local built environment into our urban education models." The goal of the organization is to enable youth to think critically about important issues; address life challenges with a series of helpful tools; and become leaders in a variety of STEM areas.
Toward that end, City Science has established a reputation as an extremely impactful and participatory agency, which has become a leader among community based STEM organizations. Their resources and ongoing coaching have been instrumental in building the capacity of staff and strengthening the skills of STEM participants.
Thor Snilsberg, Executive Director, has become a leader in our NYC STEM Education Network - with influence in NYC and nationally. He has built an excellent Board of Directors and staff - and is seeking to build his team through strengthening their work within the Network and rising to the attention of a large number of foundations, corporations, and partner organizations who have recognized their impact. They are still a small/medium sized organization but one with the capacity to grow and expand. Their reputation among philanthropic groups and the wide variety of STEM organizations in NYC is well recognized, and their desire to meet the growing need for STEM education is well known throughout the City.
City Science has risen to the top of high quality organizations in NYC - with a highly impactful and participatory approach to learning, teaching, and guiding the work of young students. Their capable staff and active Board encourage and support their work - and their ability to partner with other organizations/individuals is beyond reproach. Their ties to the communities in which they reside and with whom they partner is also highly visible and forms the foundation of all of their efforts. They are among the most "top rated nonprofits" in New York City. Janet Kelley, Co-Facilitator, NYC STEM Education Network
I've worked with CityScience staff for years and across multiple STEM-themed programs for youth in NYC. The team at CityScience does an outstanding job of connecting youth of all ages and backgrounds to the science around them in their everyday lives. Most importantly, CityScience makes learning complex scientific concepts accessible and FUN!
Working with CityScience has been a great experience for me. I love how passionate and dedicated the staff are about their jobs. As for the programs they have, CityScience loves to make learning fun for the students. Rather than just learning from the book like most science classes tend to do. CityScience programs are very hands on, so students are actively learning and socializing with each other, and sharing new ideas to solve problems. CityScience hopes to see a brighter future by helping students find a reason to love science!
Partnering with CityScience has been a huge benefit to the SAYA after school program at JHS 202. Through our first year partnership (2016-2017), we received detailed curriculum, supplies, an instructor, and in-depth training for one of our own staff members. The training and supplies not only helped during the school year, but also enabled our staff to lead our very own Robotics activity during the summer program without any form of coaching.
This year, our partnership has advanced further, not only supplying us with materials and curriculum, but also, technology interns and a coach that are supporting us in our program's development. I am thoroughly pleased with the level of service we've received from CityScience - the administrative team is always willing to listen.
I highly recommend any youth development program looking to expand its services to consider partnering with CityScience!
Over the past two years we have worked with CityScience on multiple initiatives. I have found them to be really adept at delivering strong content that creatively connects STEM with the interests of youth.
I look forward to working with them in the future.
We have donated to CityScience for several years because of the clear impact it has on children and the community. As a former middle school teacher, I appreciate the hands-on approach and expertise that CityScience offers to schools and community programs. The enthusiasm is inspiring and we are excited to have watched how the programs have grown and continue to evolve with the needs of STEM learners. Bravo!
City Science is an incredible organization that has helped our public school engage and excite kids by bringing extension learning to our STEAM curriculum. This week, they brought our third grade classes to the park for a year-end adventure that pulled together a lot of third grade science themes. They:
-Looked in rotting trees for invertebrates
-Looked for simple machines in the park
-Talked about glaciers and how they formed the landscape in the park
-Examined leaves to determine what types of trees are in the park
-Listened to bird calls
-Sketched a stone bridge and learned about the physics of bridge building
The educators are engaging, the programming is kid centered -- what an amazing resource!
Our "Health Maker Lab" (HML)---a new Nonprofit in Brooklyn, NY---has been the appreciative recipient of CityScience's kind, unstinting and effective support.
Due to our co-aligned interests in mobile and pop-up tech education, CitySci has graciously helped us to advance our ambitious mission. To start, CityScience has acted---on a gratis basis---as our monthly Meetup's ("HCx3DP Meetup NY") venue host over the last year. The Team at CitySci has also participated as our Meetup's expert presenters.
Much of what we do at HML is related or driven by Digital Fabrication: think 3D Printing. So, our opportunities to cross-pollinate via common STEM or STEAM vectors (cooperating on new, educator-focused "project-based learning" and "design thinking) are extensive and exciting.
CitySci is now freely consulting to us on our NSF application in this STEM arena ("Advancing Informal STEM Learning").
We believe that CityScience is worthy of serious support because it educates K-8 students and their teachers via the effective amalgam of "City" and "Science."
Founder, Health Maker Lab, Inc.
CityScience is innovating in one of THE key spaces of the 21st C.---ultra-urban, K-8 education. We're a nation of cities, of technology and of creativity. CitySci is effectively "synergizing" ALL three---by empowering the future success of the young and their "will-be" communities.
We are an organization steeped in leading-edge tech in digital fabrication, the Maker Movement and Citizen-Science healthcare solutions in NYC. Thus, we have a special and knowledgeable perspective on sectors of CitySci's rich field of play---particularly in STEM & STE(A)M. We also collaborate with CitySci in tech- and education-network cross-pollination and Meetup event production.
We know CitySci and its leadership and staff---personally and organizationally---as consummate professionals. We can unfailingly depend on their team to make good on our co-operations.
In our hands-on experience in these fields, we find CityScience to be delightfully unique---and hence an organization that should garner all the additional support that it seeks. It does good...and well... CitySci demonstrates the capability to effectively deploy and employ many more resources in pursuit of its nonprofit mission.
Forward-thinking donors---concerned about the near-future of our tech and creative-enfused society---should write CityScience bigger checks!
Working at City Science has been a pleasure. They were very flexible in working around my school schedule, and it was great to be able to apply what I've learned in the classroom as an engineering student to my work at City Science. Being able to put together fun and exciting engineering design challenges for middle school and elementary school students is a great way to get kids interested in STEM. I also learned a lot about science and engineering along the way, which in turn helped me with my studies. Working at City Science is exciting because no two days are ever the same.
These guys are the real deal- they're truly dedicated to spreading STEM education to the urban youth of New York. From the minute I started working here, I could see the raw, committed energy to meeting everyday goals and providing STEM expertise. They also have tons of high-quality resources from their lending library. Simply amazing.
I came into the org as a teacher with some classroom experience. CityScience has helped me grow as a teacher, project manager, and leader. With just the right balance of freedom and direction, Thor and Matt have led me but also let me take me the lead on some projects. There's a team spirit atmosphere and every member of the team is important and valued.
I've been worked at CityScience this summer about The Food In The Big Apple project. All the experience that I've got during the project was precious and influential to me. Also, during the project, I could feel the effort from CityScience that they're trying to broaden children science education. Their projects about science education (like food project or Lego as I seen) looks interesting even to me and very educational to children. I was so impressed that they were much cared about children not only education in a big side but also even about the details related to the children's interest. They communicate a lot with staffs and accept all the feedback to be more helpful to children. It's so grateful that I was participated in the project and worked at CityScience!!
Having briefly worked for CityScience over the summer, I was able to directly witness all their wonderful contributions to early childhood education first hand. The programs are not only an educational summer learning experience, but they are exciting and make learning science interesting! In doing so, CityScience is working to develop a genuine interest in science in children early on in life and by making learning fun they do just that. As a person with a love for science myself, I only wish I had been a part of a program like this when I was younger. The Food in The Big Apple program was one of my absolute favorite experiences yet!
My name is Jesse Gilman, and I have been a volunteer at CityScience for a little over a year now. My experience has been nothing but positive and enriching. I have gained incredibly valuable access to a workplace environment, and met amazing, friendly, and caring people. I can say without a doubt that everyone at CityScience is enthusiastic about science and scientific knowledge, and they all welcomed me to the group with open arms. It truly is an amazing group that I am proud to be associated with.
Great experience work there!
I participate the design of Low line project which is interesting and very helpful for the K-12 students. I think CityScience has done a lot in K-12 education.
I worked at CityScience for 9 months, as an office intern and as a STEM instructor on their "Food in the Big Apple" program.
CityScience gave me a great opportunity to teach in New York, which I am thankful for, and the science courses they run for K-8 students are excellent.
CityScience's lending library is what we have been looking for all along to help make our after school program's STEM activities real and engaging. It's almost like going into a candy shop at CityScience because there's everything you can imagine from circuit boards to building materials to LEGO robotics parts--- even insects, like their rad old lady praying mantis. However, they go beyond just being a library, Thor and his staff provide great recommendations of projects for the youth you serve. There is a myriad of resources from DVDs to books to samples. CityScience serves a need in the community for sure--- many afterschool programs need the help that they provide.
Cityscience knows STEM and they are great at conveying the importance of these fields to people who are not familiar with the subject matter. Which motivates staff to take on STEM facilitation with the gusto and fervor it deserves.
Our community based organization has worked with CityScience for 4 consecutive years. The positive feedback we get from our youth is the driving force for inviting CityScience's STEM instructors back year after year. From life science programs that bring in 10 different species of bugs to our classroom to a Making program that led kids through the process of making their own solar chargers it is always exciting to plan new programs with CityScience.
In addition to quality hands-on STEM explorations for youth, CityScience has provided several staff trainings for our after-school youth development workers. What I appreciate about CityScience workshops is the emphasis on facilitating STEM activities. Often times our staff are not comfortable teaching STEM but CityScience puts facilitation and discussion ahead of complicated content. This shift in thinking is great because I've noticed that our staff is now more comfortable learning side by side with the students - demonstrating that science is really about finding answers together with research and teamwork.
Knowing their work, I recommend donors support CityScience. I know they pride themselves on having a great "library" of supplies available. Working in New York I can attest to the need for more high quality science supplies in our programs.
City Science is an outstanding organization and an inspiring leader in STEM education. I've had the pleasure of working with Thor and the City Science team - they developed engaging and effective sets of STEM curriculum for our organization's K-12 youth education program. The City Science team works tirelessly to create meaningful learning experiences for students around the tri-state area, and I can only hope that more schools and organizations get to work with City Science and connect even more students to the field of STEM.
It has been a distinct pleasure serving on the Board of Directors for CityScience. CityScience's deep commitment to STEM education through experiential education and direct service is evident in both the projects we take on, and where the field needs to be in the future. We have much work to do in transforming education and it's my hope that CityScience continues to play an active role in shaping the role of direct inquiry and experiential approaches in public education and broader education reform. Get out there and do it!
I have been working with CityScience to develop a collaboration that can translate some of my university-level teaching to the target students for their work. The way CityScience is engaging students to think about the built environment that surrounds them is truly impressive and well aligned with what we are trying to do at university level in civil engineering education.
When I came into Cityscience, we talked about my classroom needs and ideas I had. Cityscience responded the way teachers love which is by finding ways of adapting to my needs and my students' needs, not forcing me to adapt to their needs or rigid preexisting lessons and units. I would recommend Cityscience for any science teacher or any science program in the city.
While being a STEM Education Research Intern at City Science over the summer I was acquainted with remarkable staff members. I was beyond grateful to be part of a very friendly and ambitious environment. This nonprofit certainly puts a lot of dedication towards achieving their goals. It was a very intriguing internship, where I was able help generate exciting experiments to later introduce to children, as well as learn many things connected to New York's history in the process. I personally think it’s a great initiative for CityScience to develop all of these fantastic ideas with significant lessons behind it and enrich children's minds by implementing these teachings to open kid’s minds about STEM fields. To give them the opportunity to appreciate how thrilling STEM projects can be and to get them considering a future in the STEM field at an early age.
I did an internship here over a summer break, and it was an awesome experience. The staff was very passionate about their work and they had me do some very interesting projects during my time there. Also, the insects they have housed in the office are really cool!
I started working as a volunteer for CityScience during my senior year of my undergraduate degree. At the time I was at a crossroads in determining my career goals. Yet, during my short tenure at CityScience (approximately 6 months), a profound impact was made on me. There I realized that I wanted to join both my areas of interest-educational research and geo-science, into one.
I saw how deeply invested and truly compassionate CityScience was in the development of childhood science education. Thor, the head of CityScience, continously works with a sense of charm and perseverance to achieve the degree of high altruism CityScience has today. However, he does this with full autonomy, volunteers that believe in the mission of CityScience, and minimal resources. If CityScience had more external resources, to match the internal motivation they exude, I believe it would continue to further their goal of developing/improving our urban science education among the leaders of tomorrow.
Those of you reading this, I hope that you further investigate CityScience. I promise you will not be disappointed.
These past few months at CityScience have been incredibly inspiring. We just founded the Young Professional's Board, a team of experts who are helping manage a bunch of professional volunteer projects. We have already completed a brochure and a website audit, and we are so excited to see what else may come from our new board. You can really see the affect of our progress, and it will be interesting to see how the Young Professional's Board grows and changes in the future. Many great things are happening beyond the fantastic work CityScience does with with kids and teachers. It's going to be a great year here!
I donate to Cityscience because education and good role models are essential to a child’s life. The work that Cityscience provides to schools and communities cannot be measured in the traditional way. Rather, The impact of the work that they do will carry with the child forever. Providing an opportunity for a child to learn something they might not have had the opportunity to learn; is immeasurable. Please continue the good work!
CityScience is built on a strong curriculum that connects learning to the natural and built environment of NYC. This currirulum, carefully developed by science teachers, tested on urban youngsters, and revised over a period of 30 years, supports the national STEM objectives.
Knowing CityScience's founder, I can testify to his passion for urban planning and serving low income communities. It is never easy starting an organization and I am proud to see it growing the number of students served and its revenue every year since its start in 2010.
Believing in the efficacy of experiential learning, and having an interest in the environment, I joined the Board of CityScience to advance both of those causes. The organization's approach to championing STEM education in the schools that need it most is innovative, facilitates partnerships with schools and has significant impact. The organization's mission is greatly advanced by its ED and dedicated staff who work tirelessly towards this end.
I've been an enthusiastic supporter of CitiScience from its earliest days because I believe in its mission to support better teaching of science in urban schools and after-school programs. Under the able leadership of Thor Snilsberg, CitiScience is showing that an experiential, place-based approach to science education captures student interest, furthers environmental stewardship, and empowers teachers in just the ways our world needs. I've been an educator for over 40 years, and I can see the promise of CitiScience to make a difference. I hope it grows and grows!
I had seen CityScience put on their Brooklyn Bridge demonstration (teaching the physics behind a suspension bridge through experiential kinetic learning with ropes your own body weight) at the park a couple of years ago. This year, I reached out to Thor to see if he could bring the demonstration to a neighborhood event. He kindly did, and it was the hit of the event! The combination of learning and fun that the City Science programs bring to their encounters is amazing.....they bring science to life!
As I am the Co-Chair of the Math & Science Committee at a public school in Brooklyn, we are now engaging City Science to lead interactive STEM fun/learning activities at our school Fall Festival, as well as help with our after school programming.
Thor has been an incredible partner and I enthusiastically look forward to more projects with this program and our community.
CityScience is the type of hands educational organization that will help us catch the rest of the world in science literacy. By also helping science teachers, many of whom have limited experience with the subject, get up to speed with their skills CityScience's effects are magnified ...
I was the founding Program Director with CityScience for two years and am proud to write this review. CItyScience's commitment to engage underserved youth in experiential science in the city is hugely needed and executed very well. The organization works hard to differentiate its programs to the broad range of people it works with while focusing on the assets the youth bring with them. CityScience recognizes the opportunity science presents to educators to weave social skill building into learning while maintaining high academic integrity. Additionally, CityScience operates with a sociopolitical consciousness around issues inequity, an essential consideration when providing underserved communities access to Nature and quality education. CityScience is an exemplary organization that fills an essential role in the work to educate our youth.
I am the Education Specialist at Grand Street Settlement and have been working with CityScience's "Transformers-- New City" curriculum as part of the DYCD's Summer 2014 programming. To complement our classroom work with bridges, we coordinated a Brooklyn Bridge visit with Executive Director Thor Snilsberg, who was very responsive to all communications and flexible with scheduling. The Grand Street Settlement summer camp participants engaged in a variety of activities presented by Thor, who kept them focused and having fun. I really appreciated the interdisciplinary nature of the presentation-- Thor spoke to them about both the engineering and history of the bridge, providing for the varied interests of the participants. The hands-on activities reinforced engineering concepts, while allowing the kids to get moving in the outdoor space. Overall, it was a great experience for the participants and staff alike, and I would strongly recommend CityScience programming to anyone looking to make science fun and relevant to kids.
I am a classroom teacher. This year our school partnered with CityScience for instructional coaching and support. The support we received was great and helped the students in our school community think and work more like scientists. I also feel that I have improved as an educator thanks to CityScience. They have helped move our science department and instruction to the next level for our students.
The Kearney Educational Foundation has supported CityScience for three consecutive years. We believe their leadership and vision in supporting PreK - 8th grade educators with training and resources that powerfully connect science to our environment. More than any other subject, science provides endless opportunities to connect learning to the real world and CityScience's mission to "utilize the natural and built environments of cities as laboratories for active learning" hits this sweet spot. Furthermore teachers and their students benefit from an understanding of the scientific method and the importance of logic in thinking and critical analysis of evidence in our daily lives. Students are clearly excited when engaged in the many learning opportunities enhanced by the City Science programs.
Data has shown that America is falling behind other countries is the level of achievement demonstrated by our students in STEM subjects. We believe America's poor performance in science is in part related to our lack of certified science teachers at the lowest grade levels. Unfortunately this deficiency is worse in the urban areas CityScience serves. We have found the arguments presented by Ricahrd Louv in "Last Child in the Woods" to be compelling. Academic research demonstrates it is important for students to forge positive views about the environment and science from an early age.
Our experience with CityScience has been nothing but positive and we strongly recommend other family foundations and donors of all types consider supporting CityScience. The impact of their programs is impressive. The enthusiasm of students and teachers alike is evident to us from our exposure to those who have participated in City Science programs.
I have been volunteering for about two months now as a college intern, and I can proudly say this has been an incredibly enlightening experience beyond any learning I have done in a traditional classroom. There is nothing comparable to learning hands-on, and by volunteering at CityScience I feel like I have not only gained insight on STEM education and non-profits in general, but have become a more motivated, open-minded worker. Each time I am in the office, I am given many different tasks and constantly feel like I am doing something valuable with each completed task. There is something so gratifying about contributing to a company that is truly improving a societal issue.
I recommend volunteering for CityScience no matter how much time you think you can commit. The experience is invaluable, both promoting an incredibly poignant cause and doing something gratifying that you can look back on. There are many different angles to volunteering from education based volunteering to office, administrative, or business volunteering. This is an organization that definitely needs more attention and more funding, and any time volunteered is just another step to getting CityScience to its full potential.
My name is Jennifer, and I am the Director of an After School Program that has partnered with CityScience. I had the opportunity to work with this organization as part of an initiative to teach students about green architecture. CityScience staff provided fun and engaging lessons over the course of the semester using hands-on activities that the students loved. Our students were so engaged by the material that they created their very own magazine called "Bump up the Green" for our Community Center's members. City Science also coordinated two exciting field trips to green buildings in New York City, which our students still talk about today. CityScience ensured the students were not just exposed to the material, but that they were able to apply it to their lives in a meaningful way.
City Science brought project-based learning at its finest to our community!
I am a volunteer at CityScience, and I feel like I am making a difference to the way many students learn science in some public schools. I am a middle schooler myself. I edited a video for CityScience that showed how they helped a school in Brooklyn that was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. The executive director of CityScience, Thor Snilsberg, always comes up with great ideas. CityScience took the circumstances, and utilized them to create a special learning experience. The elementary students learned about Moons and Tides, Barrier Islands, and the Rock Cycle, by making models, where they could visualize everything. Among those models was one showing the phases of the moon, and one which showed the moon orbiting the earth across from the sun. With this model you can see how these three celestial bodies are aligned during spring tides. The kids went to Brooklyn Marine Park, where they saw salt marshes and barrier islands.
Not only did these kids learn a lot of cool information, they learned useful information that was relevant to them. Everything CityScience teaches to young learners has long term benefits, one of them is instilling a passion for learning, that is universal and applies to all subjects, including science. Volunteering for
CityScience gives me a satisfaction that I am giving my time for a good cause, because many schools in New York City do not have the resources to provide a good science curriculum. CityScience supplements the resources for these schools, resulting in better educated adults, or a smarter generation. What
I think if CityScience had more funding more could be accomplished. One idea I have is that maybe CityScience can acquire 30 or more dissection sets and specimens, and use these supplies to teach kids biology. We can bring the sets to school for a Biology week and let each student to learn anatomy of a frog first hand. I believe in CityScience, and I believe in its leading role in “beefing” up the science education in public schools in New York City.
What is special about CityScience is that it designs hands-on projects so the kids do the science instead of reading dry textbooks and never leaving the classroom.
I have the pleasure of serving as CityScience's Board Chair, so its fair to ask whether I might be slightly biased. The point, however, is this: We are at a crucial time for education in general, and STEM education in New York City particular. We need young inquirers, learners, and analyzers. And yet budgets are being cut and, at the middle school level, due to lack of resources, science is often taught inconsistently, leading to kids being turned off to science at a young age.
I am proud to say that CityScience's practice - in schools, in after-school programs, in summer institutes and teacher training sessions - is true to its motto of seeking to Inspire Exploration. And I have witnessed first-hand the effectiveness of CityScience in working with teachers to help them to deliver exciting hands-on inquiry-based STEM education to their students.
My hope for CityScience is to extend our reach so we can touch as many teachers - and hence their students - as possible.
I met Thor several years ago when he was just starting CityScience, and when the opportunity arose, decided to engage them to do a series of programs with after-school sites. I was not disappointed. They worked closely with the sites to design and deliver great science programs, and the kids were engaged in doing science. While most of the visits were on-site, they also arranged for kids to make a field trip to experience a "green building". They are always interested in making connections and expanding the field of science education, and have been great partners on a number of projects.
My experience with CityScience was nothing short of amazing. Seeing a child's face light up as they discover the world around them is a rare sight now days, however this is the norm for CityScience. With a wide range of classes and many more in the works, CityScience provides hands-on interactive learning that simply doesn't exist in many public schools and can be the spark that keeps children and even their teachers excited about learning.
I'm also very impressed with the student led projects, from surveying and mapping parks to creating an entire magazine! These are high level projects that CityScience has helped its students produce, and provide valuable skills and a sense of accomplishment that students will carry with them long after their time with CityScience.
I worked with the Great Falls Youth Corps, a group of high school ambassadors dedicated to improving the Great Falls National Historical Park. We linked up with CityScience, who was the perfect partner. CityScience provided hands-on materials and curricula to give the students a better understanding of urban science. This included mapping, geology, geography, water testing, and many other ways that caused the students to connect to their community and get an understanding of their environment. The curricula was hands-on and practical, and made the students actually get out into the community and use the lessons they had learned in the classroom. The staff was very accomodating, and was always on hand to answer questions, come visit with the students, or lead some lessons themselves. Thor and his team are constantly coming up with new ways to make science practical and appealing to the youth, and my students clearly changed the way they thought about urban science after working with CityScience!
I have seen the work done by CityScience and it is very impressive. CityScience reached out to a school in Brooklyn, NY that was damaged by Hurricane Sandy in October 2012. Thor Snilsberg, the Executive Director of CityScience, went to meet with students and teachers and together (I believe) they designed an academic unit that taught and explained how a natural disaster (Sandy) affects and changes the environment. In the process students learned about local physical geography, rocks and minerals, physical changes that take place in nature, moons and tides. Students took a trip to inspect the damage, designed maps, built models, and drew their own conclusions about what, where and why as far as Sandy's impact is concerned. This is by far the best way to learn science: by active exploring, inquiring, asking questions and, in fact, coming in direct contact with the subject matter. It was also very personal. The school was evacuated for a while due to hurricane damage. These students were active learners. I am positive that the experience forever changed the way they learn science. Thor Snilsberg is the powerhouse of ideas. He seeks out projects that will benefit the science students the most, by making science relevant as a subject and linking it to New York City. Thus, students who learn science with CityScience become more conscious of their living environment, and hopefully will grow up caring and protective of it. CityScience's office has some equipment, some supplies that they bring to the schools
in order to teach science, work on projects. However, what they currently have is a far cry from what they actually need. In order to reach more students in the city who are in need of a solid help with science curriculum, I believe, CityScience needs more volunteers and more technology to be available. Portable Reflective Telescopes would be nice, I think. Organizing a Star gazing night with students can introduce a unit in Basic Astronomy and Light pollution in the city. I recommend any public school Science teacher to reach out to CityScience if they need help bridging science with real life learning.
We have used City Science in our elementary afterschool programs for three years. Thor, Matthew, and the rest of the City Science team are receptive and fun to work with. Our students and staff love working with City Science. In the past few years our students have learned about their physical environment through hands on experimentation in lessons such as Journey of a Seed; Discover a Habitat, Discovering the World of Insects, and Nitty Gritty Soil Science.
I highly recommend City Science.
One of my favorite things about CityScience is its mission and focus— improving science education in NYC public schools. I am pretty critical of the current curriculum in NYC schools— when I was in elementary and middle school, I never liked science. I thought it was boring, and this was probably because much of my science education was centered around ecology and environmental science. These two fields of science aren't actually boring, but the approach that NYC public schools take to teaching these fields of science is ineffective and only scrapes the surface. Sure, I learned a little about the water cycle in 3rd-6th grade, but it would have been nice to have a greater, more in-depth understanding of the reason why water evaporates, and what this evaporation has to do with the water I boil in a big pot at home. But since my freshman year in high school, I've been in love with science— because of the in-depth lessons I learned and the amazing WHYs of the world that I learned about. If young children learned more about the WHYs of chemistry, like atoms, molecules, chemical reactions, etc.— they would have a greater understanding of the topics and they would be eager to learn more about them. CityScience does a great job of really digging deep into the world of science and pulling out intriguing things about our world, and then teaching kids about these things in an easy-to-understand, interactive, innovative way.