SHINE II (Science “Hands-on” IN Education) after-school program was created and first introduced to the students attending Prince Hall Elementary School. For the past eight years SHINE II has provided Prince Hall School Community Youth the opportunity to create, experiment and problem solve by maintaining a “STEMulating” hands-on science curriculum to make science fun and engaging. Our data proves that science helps to improve language arts skills, math skills, problem solving skills, and encourages team work. Our youth learn that “Everything Is Science” and that “Knowledge is Power”! Our experienced team leaders are dedicated to exposing our youth to extended learning opportunities and leadership skills that guide them to become productive, environmentally aware citizens!


Up and coming STEM project…

Imagine an after-school program where the children design and build self-irrigating gardens in their own communities. Children enrolled in this program will design, build and maintain a system of rain barrels, piping, dams and other components that will create a system of properly irrigated gardens. These students can then apply their knowledge and skill to create self-irrigating gardens in other vacant plots in their community.

This program encompasses all 4 components of a STEM initiative:

  • Science- Utilizing horticulture, food science, animal science, environmental science, geology and other science skills in the planning of the irrigation system.
  • Technology- Utilizing Google Maps and Computer Aided Design programs to map & design the system.
  • Engineering –This is basic Civil Engineering.
  • Mathematics – Almost every basic mathematics from geometry to algebra will be utilized.


Program Overview

PHAF has just finished construction of their 600 sq. ft. garden, with additional land to add another 400 sq. ft. garden.

The SHINE II program is a STEM after-school program and an ideal Project Based learning environment.

The program will inspire students to enhance their natural environment by creating sustainable community gardens. Teams of students will utilize Computer Aided Design (CAD) programs and design – systems of properly irrigated gardens. From their designs, the students will implement a series of three experimental irrigation systems. The most ecologically feasible design will then be applied to create their first self- irrigated community garden. Students will use the skill and competencies gained from the completed irrigation project to duplicate self- irrigating gardens throughout the community. There is an abundance of underutilized garden space in the West Oak Lane community……… The Martha C. Young Community Playground is only the beginning of many more garden projects to come!


 Children in Lower Socioeconomic Areas and Ethnic minorities are the targeted demographics for this program. PHAF/SHINE II will recruit area businesses and service organizations to become involved in the program. Additionally, we would reach out to area high schools to involve seniors in the project to earn their required community service hours and most importantly, to serve as peer-partners for the younger students.

Pre/Post Engagement Strategies

The pre and post engagement strategy to keep students connected and engaged is a quiz that will be administered to test their interest in science and knowledge of natural bio-retention systems before and after the systems are built. The test data will be segregated to see which gender was more involved, and their interests in building the irrigation systems.The Piers-Harris Self Concept survey will be administered to the students involved to measure their level of self-esteem before the build, and after the build. This test has been a valuable source of information for the SHINE II program.

Another method of measuring success, impact and outcomes of the program is a family survey. For potential success of the program, it would be advantageous to survey families in the neighborhood near the garden area before the irrigation system is built. For the sustainability of the garden over time there needs to be buy-in from the neighborhood to support the project.


Program Goals

  • The students will develop a familiarity with Computer Aided Design programs.
  • Empowering children with the confidence to be “Environmental Change Agents”.
  • Teaching students to be environmental stewards by utilizing their STEM competencies.
  • Develop an interest in children to pursue careers in Science
  • Build self-irrigation gardens to improve their community and teach others how to build gardens
  • Positive self esteem support


Project Timeline

  • July 2015 Preparation of a STEM-focused curriculum/Neighborhood survey conducted
  • September & October 2015 – Students begin research of Storm water management systems (field trips, internet searches)
  • October 2015 -Designing of the irrigation systems
  • November -2015 Exhibition of prototype irrigation systems
  • January – February – March 2016 – Purchasing materials & construction of irrigation systems
  • April – May – Testing irrigation systems
  • June – Assign appropriate systems to each garden area
  • July – August – Maintain garden and systems


Become a partner, volunteer or supporter in our efforts to raise environmental awareness in our youth.

*All volunteers must have valid clearances*

Download a Tri-Fold of our “STEMulating” Community Gardening Project