1. Rajeev Rupani
  2. Senior Research Associate
  3. Change Makers: Urban Youth Food Justice Ambassadors
  4. http://iuse.bc.edu/leafs
  5. Boston College
  1. Mike Barnett
  2. http://iuse.bc.edu
  3. Professor of Science Education and Technology
  4. Change Makers: Urban Youth Food Justice Ambassadors
  5. http://iuse.bc.edu/leafs
  6. Boston College
  1. Alek Davila
  2. PhD Candidate
  3. Change Makers: Urban Youth Food Justice Ambassadors
  4. http://iuse.bc.edu/leafs
  5. Boston College
  1. Jackie DeLisi
  2. Senior Research Scientist
  3. Change Makers: Urban Youth Food Justice Ambassadors
  4. http://iuse.bc.edu/leafs
  5. Education Development Center
  1. David Jackson
  2. https://www.linkedin.com/in/jacksondw/
  3. PhD Candidate & After-school STEM Coordinator
  4. Change Makers: Urban Youth Food Justice Ambassadors
  5. http://iuse.bc.edu/leafs
  6. Boston College, Waltham Public Schools
  1. Lily Konowitz
  2. Graduate Student
  3. Change Makers: Urban Youth Food Justice Ambassadors
  4. http://iuse.bc.edu/leafs
  5. Boston College
  1. Madeline Reed
  2. Graduate Research Assistant
  3. Change Makers: Urban Youth Food Justice Ambassadors
  4. http://iuse.bc.edu/leafs
  5. Boston College
  1. Marcello Rossi
  2. http://www.changemakersspringfield.com
  3. SPS Hydroponics teacher and project manager
  4. Change Makers: Urban Youth Food Justice Ambassadors
  5. http://iuse.bc.edu/leafs
  6. ChangeMakers, Boston College
  1. Camille Smith
  2. PhD Student
  3. Change Makers: Urban Youth Food Justice Ambassadors
  4. http://iuse.bc.edu/leafs
  5. Boston College
Public Discussion

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  • Icon for: Rajeev Rupani

    Rajeev Rupani

    Lead Presenter
    Senior Research Associate
    May 10, 2021 | 02:37 p.m.

    Welcome to our Changemakers presentation page and thank you for viewing our project video!

    In this project, we work with youth, teachers, school districts, and non-profit organizations across Massachusetts to develop and implement a youth-driven program using a tiered mentoring model, where high school youth support middle school youth from their communities in learning the interdisciplinary science of hydroponics. The curriculum that is utilized in this project is grounded in a social justice framework, with a focus on Food Justice and engaging the youth to address issues around food access that exist in their communities by designing, building, and maintaining larger scale hydroponic systems in after-school settings.

    As part of adapting our project to the school closures due to the pandemic, we engaged and relied upon our youth leaders to mentor and engage families through activities around hydroponics and automation. This involved redesigning our larger scale hydroponics systems into take-home kits (one-tier and two-tier mini-hydroponics systems) that incorporated 3D printed components for attaching microcontrollers and sensors to the system for monitoring plant growth. We also designed a suite of lessons and activities that focused on incorporating concepts around hydroponics, coding, and automation, which were hosted and organized online for the middle-school youth and their families to access and learn together as part of weekly sessions, and we developed training modules to prepare our high-school leaders to mentor and engage youth and their families through the new curriculum (the project resources and curriculum materials can be accessed here).

    Through our research we have found significant impacts of the project on the value, efficacy, and interest of the high school student participants and youth leaders to pursue both higher education and STEM areas. We have also found that the near-peer mentoring approach is highly motivating and engaging for the high school students, as this enables them to envision themselves as leaders and as someone who has the capacity to utilize science to drive change in their community.

     
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    Marcello Rossi
  • Icon for: Amy Alznauer

    Amy Alznauer

    Facilitator
    Lecturer
    May 11, 2021 | 08:32 a.m.

    Good Morning Everyone!

    In your video, I really appreciated hearing a student leader talk about the impact of this initiative on his own sense of self. That was a truly beautiful and inspiring moment. So I would love to hear more about how these student leaders worked with younger students, or near-peers. Might you say a bit more about what this looked like in practice? (How were they partnered? What role did the older student play? How did they collaborate?) And how did you measure the impact of this mentoring on the students’ future in STEM fields (both for the mentors and the mentees)?

     
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    Vivian White
    Kimberly Elliott
    Marcello Rossi
  • Icon for: Marcello Rossi

    Marcello Rossi

    Co-Presenter
    SPS Hydroponics teacher and project manager
    May 11, 2021 | 11:15 a.m.
    1. Hi thank you for your detailed questions.

    Our SPS ChangeMakers Hydroponics science organization is structured in ages groups 7 and 8 graders are called Sprouts. 9,10,11,12 graders are called Food Justice Ambassadors. First year of College and were Ambassadors during Highschool are called Food Justice Leaders. The Teachers are called ChangeMakers Leaders. I am the Hydroponics science renewable energy teacher and ChangeMakers project manager. Everything I have to say applies only to Springfield Public schools ChangeMakers.

     

    Highschool teachers leaders and project manager recruit 9-12 graders. Middle school teachers recruit 7-8 graders. 

    We have a 2 week SPS ChangeMakers Summer (August) Institute that takes place at one of our schools. This is attended by Highschool teachers and middle school teachers and Highschool students ambassadors.

    Ambassadors and Food Justice Leaders fjl start meeting every week last week of September. During the school year we have our own STEM curriculum and get lots of work done.

    The Highschool ambassadors learn about horticulture, biology, hydroponics, renewable energy solutions, microbit programming, food justice issues, life purpose and character traits and of course learn and practice teaching, they get to decide what they wish to teach, and make short 3 minutes max educational videos, they prepare and take turns leading mini workshops teaching their peers, learn different pedagogical approaches  and then we meet with the Middle school students Sprouts and the Ambassadors get to become Mentors teaching the Sprouts.

    We have the Online School and the Ambassadors and FJL educational videos are building the content for the Sprouts to access 24/7 360 days year.

    we have evaluators that sit in and observe our classroom and we have our team of Boston College research and development team doing data collection at start, middle and end of school year. They can expand on this, how we measure the impact. 

    It becomes very noticeable the impact our work has, it’s reflected in the developments and performance of each student academically and much more. I have students that have been in the program for 5 years, these students joined since  6 grade or 7 grade. We not only have an impact on the children’s learning we are a network of support and lifelong mentoring. 

     

     
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    Kimberly Elliott
  • Icon for: Liz Georgakopoulos

    Liz Georgakopoulos

    Informal Educator
    May 11, 2021 | 10:00 a.m.

    I would love to learn more about the integration of justice issues in this learning! I run a program rooted in civic engagement surrounding climate and environmental justice (in Boston).  This could be a great connection!

     
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    Janelle Johnson
  • Icon for: Marcello Rossi

    Marcello Rossi

    Co-Presenter
    SPS Hydroponics teacher and project manager
    May 11, 2021 | 10:14 a.m.

    All of our teachers and students are learning by doing and collecting data. Project based learning activities allow for us to experience learning, help others understand on how to help our city and school district become more self sustainable using renewable energy solutions like Solar and growing our own home science hydroponics fresh greens indoors and outdoors. Food justice happens when we learn better ways to create local resources to help our community have access to more nutritious foods and change our lives to become producers using STEM focused curriculum. We are Springfield Public Schools ChangeMakers Hydroponics science. Please visit our online school. We would love to connect with you. 

    ChangeMakersSpringfield.com 

     
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    Janelle Johnson
  • Icon for: George Hein

    George Hein

    Facilitator
    Professor Emeritus
    May 11, 2021 | 11:36 a.m.

    Hi Rajeev and the team,

    Your program reminds me of an ASTC initiative called Youth ALIVE that brought high school students (with various backgrounds) into science museums and gave the training they needed for responsible positions.  It changed the lives of many of the participants.  I interviewed some of them (see J. Museum Ed., 25[3] 9-13, 2000).  I hope you will keep good records of the individual participants' development and keep track of them.

    Your adaptation of the program for the Covid-19 crisis is impressive.

     

     
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    Marcello Rossi
  • Icon for: Liz Georgakopoulos

    Liz Georgakopoulos

    Informal Educator
    May 11, 2021 | 12:24 p.m.

    Up until 2020, there was at least one YouthAlive network still meeting in the Mid Atlantic with some ouliers like me from the New England Aquarium in Boston!

  • Icon for: Mike Barnett

    Mike Barnett

    Co-Presenter
    Professor of Science Education and Technology
    May 11, 2021 | 06:09 p.m.

    Yes, we have been tracking the youth over time.  So far all the food justice leaders across the cities have gone on to some kind of post-secondary training whether the technical training in the military, college, or community college.  We have about 60% of them opting to study some kind of STEM field once there and given that one one of our recruiting goals is to recruit youth who are interested in social justice, helping their community but have opted out of science and that the program helps them to opt back in is of particular importance to us.

     

  • Icon for: Amy Alznauer

    Amy Alznauer

    Facilitator
    Lecturer
    May 11, 2021 | 08:43 p.m.

    Marcello and Mike, thank you for your responses! I am impressed by the breadth of your program and how carefully you have developed the various levels of leadership. I love this line, "We not only have an impact on the children’s learning we are a network of support and lifelong mentoring." To build relationships like this that can follow and inspire students for their entire educational journey is quite incredible. Your project and another one focused on peer mentoring (see this one: https://videohall.com/p/1923) have really convinced me, or re-convinced me I should say, how essential and potentially transformative peer mentoring is.

     
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    Janelle Johnson
    Marcello Rossi
  • Icon for: Marcello Rossi

    Marcello Rossi

    Co-Presenter
    SPS Hydroponics teacher and project manager
    May 12, 2021 | 03:52 p.m.

    Dear Amy, Thank you 🙏 your feedback is very much appreciated. I did take a look at the virtual NAC and nine programs. I agree with you, they are a good project to connect with.

  • Icon for: Leigh Peake

    Leigh Peake

    Informal Educator
    May 13, 2021 | 12:46 p.m.

    Amy Alznauer took the words out of my mouth -- I love all the different levels of leadership embedded in this work. And of course a great and creative adaptation to home!

     
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    Janelle Johnson
    Marcello Rossi
  • Icon for: Marcello Rossi

    Marcello Rossi

    Co-Presenter
    SPS Hydroponics teacher and project manager
    May 17, 2021 | 11:09 a.m.

    Dear Leigh, I appreciate your support and I really love your project.  I am also reading your descriptions of how remote learning gives more opportunities more time for reflections something I constantly do with my students and teachers. The relationship is nurtured and everyone’s life purpose is strengthened. 

  • Icon for: Kara Dawson

    Kara Dawson

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 13, 2021 | 06:15 p.m.

    Congratulations on an innovative and impactful project. The long term successes are impressive!

     
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    Marcello Rossi
  • Small default profile

    Amie Mondl

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 14, 2021 | 08:45 a.m.

    Congrats Change Makers team! 

    I was really impressed by your engagement of student mentors, learners, and field experts to collaboratively design a solution to increase food access for families by growing greens/vegetables hydroponically.  I loved that you cultivated a deep interest in STEM fields with many student mentors choosing a STEM field of study.  In addition, you were able to keep the youth change-makers mentoring and contributing during a time of intense COVID restrictions.  I also loved the level of engineering and design in the shift to smaller home hydroponic units with microcontrollers and sensors.  Very impressive!  I also work with a team of MN high school students to also address food justice by growing lettuce and greens hydroponically at their school.  Continuing the program during COVID was challenging and we shifted to a virtual Farm to Fork program where students received at-home agriculture learning kits to grow food and cook with community members virtually. I would love to connect with you in the future. 

     
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    Marcello Rossi
  • Icon for: Mike Barnett

    Mike Barnett

    Co-Presenter
    Professor of Science Education and Technology
    May 14, 2021 | 08:49 a.m.

    Wonderful! Are you at the Minnesota Science Museum?  Would love to connect, my contact email is barnetge@bc.edu, drop me a note when you get a chance. 

  • Small default profile

    LAKSH AR

    Informal Educator
    May 16, 2021 | 01:00 p.m.

    Very innovative and impressive engagement with the Youths  .This  is one of the  unique   project for the youths to understand the environment  and engage in growing our own food. This project will definitely  create a deep interest in STEM education and  help the youths to engage in learning process , share the experiences with their peers and  spend their quality time with their family members

     
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    Marcello Rossi
  • Icon for: Martin Storksdieck

    Martin Storksdieck

    Facilitator
    Director
    May 16, 2021 | 04:32 p.m.

    This you is a wonderful project and clearly impacts youth who are participating. But it is also highly resourced. I am wondering what broader recommendations you have for those teachers and instructors interested in the approach, but without access to such a team?  

     
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    Marcello Rossi
  • Icon for: Mike Barnett

    Mike Barnett

    Co-Presenter
    Professor of Science Education and Technology
    May 17, 2021 | 10:25 a.m.

    I think Marcello will have a lot to say.   We are finding that the key is to have a community liason across each community.  Depends on the scale of hte project.  For some districts the project has become a hydroponics club at a high school and a middle school and at that point once the equipment is in place it just becomes a regular after-school program.  The other though that is important is that the high schools and middle schools are close together, hence good partners/sites are those that have situation or those that have middle-high school type high school, like our Boston Public Partners.  

    The systems that we designed were designed to grow as many plants in as small as space as possible but you can easily do this with far, far, far, less complexity.  

    So first, and also for sustainability is to set up the program as a club, nearly all school districts have funding for teachers time to be a club leader afterschool, (2) do not engage middle school youth until you have a core set of high school youth who are ready to lead, which is usually 6 months to a year, (3) have a partnership teacher (one high school, one middle school). 

    Based on all the lessons learned we have a new intiiative where the training for high school youth happen during the summer and then they teach and then during the academic year connect with middle school virtually once/week.  Still led by a high school teacher in partnership with middle school teachers with the goal of building on what we learned during the COVID times around family engagement.  

     

     
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    Marcello Rossi
  • Icon for: Marcello Rossi

    Marcello Rossi

    Co-Presenter
    SPS Hydroponics teacher and project manager
    May 17, 2021 | 10:54 a.m.

    Thank you Mike; Dear Martin, the approach or the basic structures are different for each school. So I can say from working in 7 Massachusetts public school districts each sector will offer different opportunities.

    What we are doing in SPS ChangeMakers Hydroponics LEaFS (learning ecosystems and family science) is specifically catered to the second largest student population district in Massachusetts and is predominantly of Latino-Black culture. 
    Our western ma community including our great city of Springfield has a very strong “local is better culture”The Mayor likes to garden. All this intertwined with a large local movement to grow using greenhouses, hydroponics, solar energy, becoming in our lives more sustainable, thriving in abundance all four seasons of the year.

    This and much more including what Mike said is how it works best for SPS ChangeMakers LEaFS.

    if I had no resources and only  a cohort of 10 graders or any grade k-12 I would start with Hydroponics homemade systems using the professor Kratky methods and growing from food scraps. Use the Sun ☀️, water, foods. Up cycling plastic containers and straws (Trash).

    The nexus of Sun energy, food and water. It can be done ✅ 

     

  • Icon for: Mike Barnett

    Mike Barnett

    Co-Presenter
    Professor of Science Education and Technology
    May 17, 2021 | 12:32 p.m.

    The other thing that does require that human resource is long-term committment to students.  Given that this project focuses on re-engaging students in science.... that isn't something that happens within the context of a single unit or even a single summer.  We are finding it can take up three years of engagement for students who have opted out of science to re-build their belief in themselves that they can do science and that they can use science to make a difference.  So another recommendation is that if that is your target be prepared for a longer term committment than is typical for most programs.

     
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    Marcello Rossi
  • Icon for: Candice Woods

    Candice Woods

    Manager, Development and Partnerships
    May 17, 2021 | 09:28 a.m.

    I am very impressed by your adaptation to COVID-19 and commitment to using a social justice framework in STEM. Bravo!

     
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    Marcello Rossi
  • Icon for: Marcello Rossi

    Marcello Rossi

    Co-Presenter
    SPS Hydroponics teacher and project manager
    May 17, 2021 | 09:47 a.m.

    Hi Candice, we really appreciate your support. Going 100 percent remote was very challenging. We had no idea, it was the balance of different skills each teacher contributed and we actually had our most successful ChangeMakers school year of the last 5. 
    The Home Science environment truly helped make sure everyone had first hands on experience and the online school allowed for 24/7 on demand access to all of the projects based learning activities. Each student has at home a home science lab complete with everything they need to thrive into STEM activities. 
    The relationship between Mentor and Mentee is stronger than ever before. The communication between me and each student was enhanced by going remote. I also was delivering the materials sometimes a few times every month. This also was powerful, having to organize and coordinate the  🚚 process was a huge Team building activity. There are so many positives much to address on how amazing this Pandemic year has been for SPS ChangeMakers Hydroponics Science 2021. We are resilient we are Springfield Strong.

  • Icon for: James Callahan

    James Callahan

    Informal Educator
    May 17, 2021 | 05:14 p.m.

    Thank you, Changemakers!  You are doing such vitally important work, from so many angles.

    There is a good deal of similarity with our projects.  It's a pleasure learning from you; we are now real fans.

    Question:  Does Changemakers take part in your local science festivals?  Do you take part in field trip hubs?  In the Boston / Cambridge area, you have some of the country's best science festivals.

    As you see on our video, two of the science festivals we take part in are the US Science and Engineering Festival and the Bay Area Science Festival.  These events are such a great opportunity to reach very large audiences.  Your work is certainly of a caliber to do well at such events, if you are not already.

    Physical and hybrid events in non-pandemic times. Of course, live remote events during the pandemic.

    What a pleasure to view your video and learn about your program!

     
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    Marcello Rossi
    James Callahan
  • Icon for: Mike Barnett

    Mike Barnett

    Co-Presenter
    Professor of Science Education and Technology
    May 18, 2021 | 03:12 p.m.

    Yep, Marcello leads all the efforts in Springfield around festival outreach.  We have done the innovation festival at the smithsonian and will be there again this coming April (2022), and a few of the local festivals like the Boston Food festival, some of our partners have river festivals given the historical importance of rivers in the northeast and we are there.  We did the US Science and Engineering Festival a few years back, but the smithsonian one kind of took its place.  We do pick and choose a bit as there is only so much time in the day/year :). 

     

  • Icon for: Marcello Rossi

    Marcello Rossi

    Co-Presenter
    SPS Hydroponics teacher and project manager
    May 17, 2021 | 05:22 p.m.

    Hello James, we do participate ever year the STCC SUSTAINATHON , we won first place this year and second place two years ago. This year we also are collaborating with cooler Communities western Massachusetts. In 2019 we published our hydroponics science recipes book and won second place 🥈 in the Safe Foods national competition.

    I will reach out to those science festivals you mentioned. I will watch your video. Thank you very much for your kind words and support.

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