Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Bird Week!

This week, students in the gardening class got a close-up look at birds!

On Monday, students learned about predator-prey relationships and adaptations by dissecting owl pellets. Although owl pellets look just like poop, we learned that over time, owls have developed two stomachs called the proventriculus and the ventriculus. The owl pellets come from the ventriculus, where the owl stores the fur and bones that it can't digest. It then spits up these pellets for students like us to dissect! We found skulls, vertebrae, ribs, and more, and through careful observation, we figured out what animals our owls had for dinner!

On Tuesday, we had a visit from Patapsco State Park's Scales and Tales program. Mr. Aaron, pictured below, brought a hawk, an owl, a crow, and a vulture to our East Harbor campus. He talked about how all of the animals made their way to Patapsco's rehab and about the adaptations these birds have developed over time. The kids were surprised by how strong a vulture's wings are and were very curious about the owl's blind eye. They had a lot of questions for Mr. Aaron!

On Wednesday, class was all about eggs, eggs, eggs! We learned about the difference between cage, barn, and free-range chickens by watching a video from Australia. Then, we did experiments on eggs. We did the float or sink test to see if the eggs from our chicken coop were old or new, and then we did a spin test to see if I secretly hard boiled them or not. Finally, we dyed the eggs using water, food coloring, and vinegar. We got to connect what we learned in cooking class about MyPlate to our experiments by talking about how eggs are a good source of protein, and then we put our learning to a very yummy taste test.

On Thursday, we went to the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., where we saw not only birds, but also extinct animals, gems, mummies, and insects. 

And as always, our campus was full of geese all week!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The American Visionary Museum of Art

BUGS students had the opportunity to visit, The American Visionary Museum of Art. They begin the day with a workshop lead by AVAM staff. The workshop Imagination Portraits was inspired by the works of Gregory Warmack (aka Mr. Imagination)  Mr. imagination was known for creating portraits out of found materials such as  paint brushes, sticks, bottle caps, shells etc. BUGS had a guided tour through AVAM's three buildings.


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Exploring the world through Cooking & Nutrition Ed @ BUGS!


From the beginning of the summer, it has been jam packed and full of energy, activity and learning by doing at BUGS. Our educators apply Maryland State and Common Core standards to our carefully crafted component curriculums, to create unique lesson plans that engage our youth using all their senses. With our Program's support we've been able to supply our students with materials, edibles, and exposure to things that they will surely never forget.

Making Vitamin C Gummies & Juicing Workshop

Eager BUGS juicers

This afternoon we explored this DIY project of making our own vegetable based vitamin supplements. Using a juicer, a powdered supplement, and specialty Agar Agar Flakes (which is a special type of seaweed that creates an animal free gelatinous texture to liquids), we got right down to business. Our students at BUGS are huge fans of juice, but usually the kind that contains major amounts of refined sugars and added calories. But when they got to using our classroom kitchen Juicer....... it was like watching kids in a candy store - except these treats did the body a whole lot more good! It was great to see our BUGS students step into teamwork to not only complete their recipe assignments, but exemplify an impressive amount of independence and interest.

Cooling our Vitamins in the Freezer :)

Crab Cake Balls at Waterfront Kitchen

Kyle answering students questions

BUGS has a partnership with the restaurant Waterfront kitchen, where their manager Kyle Smedburg has accommodated our class size of 12 students. Last time we were there, we made crab cake balls and greenhouse salad (the salad is harvested from our BUGS greenhouse :)). Students were able to tap into their true Marylander as they went about down the crab cake assembly line. Students shared stories about homemade crab cakes, and some unique ways and ingredients that their parents and families used to prepare them. At the end we all sat down to enjoy a well deserved meal!

happy campers

Cooking & Gardening Collaboration

Part of our work in the various components that we offer, is to find ways to merge and blend the elements of the others. For a week, our Cooking Class collaborated with our Gardening Educator to directly link eco sustainable DIY projects from the urban garden to the kitchen. Our first project was making our own perfumes we collected from an herb walk we took around our campus. We collected a leafy Plantain, marigolds and other edible flowers, Black Eyed Susans, and plenty of lavender and violet (which we have a nice amount of) among others. We look forward to more experiments in the kitchen and plan to collaborate again in our 2nd session.

sorting herbs

student Eylo Lang smiles for the camera

Our first Summer session is nearing its close, by the end of this week. Then our Educator team is off to Philadelphia for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Summer Institute for a week of Professional Development in youth engagement.

Our second session starts July 31st and runs until August 10th.

BUGS kitchen classroom
A regular day at BUGS (busy BUGS!)

Cheers to the frontline BUGs staff, and to all the supporters that make it possible for us to do what we do with Baltimore City youth.

Nicola Norman
BUGs Cooking/Nutrition Educator

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

BUGS Summer Session 1

We have just begun B.U.G.S. Summer Session 1 and there has already be a ton of new exciting projects and adventures. In the first week of STEM class we investigated how microorganisms such as Yeast eat sugar to release carbon dioxide. Then we took cotton swabs of the inside of our mouths to grow bacteria on Petri dishes.

As you can see we had a bunch of different bacterial colonies growing just after a few days!

We also traveled around campus exploring the new summer vegetation, check out this odd flowering plant that Brian Sanders pointed out.

For our first summer trip we went to Rocky Point Park and Beach to catch a tan and relax in the water. It was the perfect weather and the water was warm. 

Also, last week we began our math component by doing a math assessment for all of the BUGS students. The students get a chance to do math-based education games to improve their math skills every day. It has been a wonderful start to the summer so far!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Rod Puppets with B.U.G.S

The Crickets had a blast creating their own Mini Rod puppets. B.U.G.S students designed and constructed their very own puppets. The process began by discussing identity, the fact of being who or what a person or thing is. We talked about what makes individuals different one other; as far as personality traits, facial features and style. These are the results of the Crickets imagination!

Joselyn working on the clothing of here puppet.

Emmanuel cutting out his pants of his rod puppet.

Sherlyn painting her puppet's skin layer

Finalizing her clothing for her puppet!

Thursday, April 27, 2017


The time is upon us again. It's the BUGS Annual Farmer's Market! The BUGS Farmer's Market is the only kid-run and kid-produced farmer's market in Baltimore. The BUGS students have been working towards this event for the past 3 months. They have been planting seeds, creating pillows and recycled handbags, making ice cream and scented soaps, and lastly, preparing a dance performance for all to see.

What: BUGS Farmer's Market
When: Saturday, May 6th, 10 am - 2 pm
Where: Living Classrooms Foundation/East Harbor Campus
802 S. Caroline St.

Come out and support our students as they sell their wares for you to enjoy. Proceeds from this event are used to purchased supplies and provide field trips for our students.
Can't wait to see you there!!
A special thanks to 21st Century Community Learning Centers/MSDE and Family League of Baltimore for their continued support of the BUGS After-School Program.


Tuesday, April 4, 2017

BUGS at the Maryland Home and Garden Show

The BUGS After-School Program was asked to participate in the Maryland Home and Garden Show. Jay and John Plummer are the directors of this bi-annual event. Each year, vendors come from all-around Maryland to share new tips on gardening, patios, and floral decorations. 


In October of 2016, an email was received from Jay Plummer about the BUGS Program participating in this event as children's craft table. Needless to say, we were very excited about this opportunity. It would provide new and different exposure for our program. 
The Ladybugs plant succulents for the MD Home and Garden Show.
Ms. Rachel, the Gardening Educator, and Mr. Terry, the Art Educator, helped to spearhead the crafts that would be easy, fun, and practical for children attending the show with their parents. Ms. Rachel worked with the Ladybugs to plant succulents for attendees to use. By collecting the left over milk cartons and spray painting them, passerby's would get an opportunity to replant the succulent in a colorful milk carton. They could also decorate the planter with tissue paper and glitter glue.

Destiny helps one of the attendees to create a planter with a succulent.
Ty'Nashisa helps a peer with creating seed art.
The BUGS Station also offered Seed Art. Children could use different colored and shaped seeds to bring an image to life. Images of butterflies, trees, and flowers were used. By using some glue and their imagination, they were able to create some wonderful images that were free for them to take.
Destiny tries to convince a little girl to create some art.
Our experience at the MD Home and Garden Show was wonderful. We received so much great feedback about our activities and what we do for the students. Many attendees, upon hearing about what was offered, bought their children directly to our table. 
Glori demonstrating Seed Art.
It was an great experience having some of the BUGS students volunteer and assist with teaching so many people how to create the art and talk about the great things they like about our program. It was a different experience for them. It'll be one that they'll never forget.
               Jmaiyuen having a little fun showing how to create the Succulent Planter.
During some down time, Ty'Nashisa, Destiny, and Taleah create their own Seed Art and Succulent Planter.
                                            Lastly, Glori had an chance to visit the Butterfly Garden and feed the butterflies.
A special thank you to Jay and John Plummer, and the entire MD Home and Garden Staff that made the BUGS After-School Program feel so welcomed and valued.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Stress Reliever Feild Trip- Baltimore Museum of Art

         Students and Staff of the B.U.G.S. program went on a field trip to the Baltimore Museum of Art located at 10 Art Museum Dr, Baltimore, MD 21218.  We visited the museum on Wednesday March 22, 2017 to give students an educational and fun experience.  The field trip served as a stress reliever for students after completing the Maryland School Assessment test on Monday March 20, 2017 and on Tuesday March 21, 2017.  Students were able to explore all levels of the museum with 4 of their friends and with a B.U.G.S. staff member.     

        Below is a picture that shows B.U.G.S. students interacting with a local artist.  The artist was comfortably seated on the floor as she was drawing.  The artist was trying to capture and interpret a piece of artwork that was mantled on the wall.  Students were curious about this artist and asked her several questions in awe and with fascination. 

Below is a picture of our students playing in front of an optical illusion mirror.  The shape of their bodies seem to be misrepresented in the reflection of the mirror which humored them greatly.  

Below is a picture that shows students interacting with an art piece.  Looking at this art piece helps them understand the idea behind an optical illusion.  On the inside of the structure, there are mirrors which were intentionally placed. These mirrors reflect off of one another to create the illusion of holes.