The Timothy Dwight Elementary School – PS 33XIn The South Bronx, NY

Alchemist Club Studios – 5th Graders

Win First Prize in The District 10 Science Fair 2022

By Dr. Wednaud J. Ronelus

STEM Researcher & Founder of the Alchemist Club Studio, NY City

The Partnerships & STEM Technologies

The Alchemist Club Apprentices have been working on bleeding-edge OPEN-Alchemist Club STEM projects using Seeed Studio’s Soil Moisture and Temperature Internet sensors, and the OPEN-RAKwireless STEM Labs DIY Dev Kits. This mix of sensors are then network-connected to Nova Labs (formerly Helium) blockchain network. The data relayed across this blockchain network from those sensors can then be displayed on our partner Ubidots data visualization software on computers and smart mobile devices anywhere. With these STEM Sensor DIY kits our students created an Internet-capable environmental sensor, essentially a weather station and air quality sensor.

The Experiment and Challenge

First and foremost though, I want to start by sharing the great news. We are the only Elementary school in District 10 in the South Bronx that won first place in the District-wide Annual Science Fair for both our technology-based science projects. The project of relevance here was entitled “Hacking The Taiga Ecosystem Code”, and the experiment was designed to use the sensors listed above to measure critical metrics in the Alchemist Club Studios room, and then within a terrarium. In the terrarium, the students measured both soil moisture, soil temperature, and air quality. In the Alchemist Club Studio classroom at 33X, the students measured air quality.

The learners first had to construct a Taiga Terrarium, and then assemble and program the Internet environmental sensor from the STEM kit, and finally onboard the sensors to their data analytics dashboard. These apprentice scientists then compared the metrics they collected about the air quality in the lab room to the air in the Terrarium. The findings supported their hypothesis that the air quality of the terrarium would be healthier than the air quality of the lab.

The Results

These 5th grade future scientists and engineers won first place at the District 10 science expo because they were able to interpret the results, and then clearly articulate how they set up and conducted the experiment. This type of project is usually only possible and accomplished at institutions of higher learning, with upper level environmental engineering students.

However, because of the bleeding edge work the Alchemist Club is doing with One Planet Education Network, Nova Labs, Seed Studio, RAKwireless, and Ubidots, they were able to set up a complex and sophisticated Internet of Things-IoT project in a 5th grade classroom sending data via the Nova Labs Blockchain Network out to the world. Our students showed what’s possible even at the Elementary (Primary) school level, while gaining a sense of great achievement, confidence, and skill sets that will serve them well in the future job market.

What’s Next for These Exceptional Students

Soon this research data collected in this award-winning experiment by our Alchemist students, and upcoming research they conduct on CO2 emissions monitoring on climate change effects will be shared with all OPEN school partners and scientists around the world for further analysis.

Upon graduation several of these students will likely become the next generation of environmental scientists, engineers, and computer scientists who will lead the world in the not-too-distant future to solve some of the most complex issues we are currently facing, such as Global Warming. This is what’s possible in this day and age if we introduce these young students to 21st Century learning technologies and have them participate in global classroom collaborations, while we teachers guide them along the way.

The Alchemist Club Studio Science Fair winners are now headed to the Bronx Borough Wide STEM Expo June 1st. We are looking forward to this epic event to meet the chancellor, superintendent, government officials and other high level stakeholders in the system. This will be an opportunity to showcase the work we are doing in the Alchemist Club Studios in partnership with One Planet Education Network, Seeed Studio, RAKwireless, Ubidots, and Nova Labs. Wish us well!