Schoolyard Sugaring

A Maple Syrup Contest

New York Agriculture in the Classroom, in partnership with the New York State Maple Foundation, presents the first of its kind maple syrup contest for classrooms across the state. Students will experience the process of collecting sap, learn the steps to boiling the sap into maple syrup, and submit their product for judging against other schools.


Pre-K through 12th grade classes in New York State, in their respective divisions. Multiple classrooms from the same school are eligible. FFA chapters, home school groups, and private schools are invited to participate.


Elementary School, Middle School, & High School

Contest Information

Review the Contest Procedures and the judging rubric to learn more about the contest and the criteria for scoring the syrup.

New in 2020! When registering for the contest you will be able to indicate if you would like a Maple Starter Kit. The first 120 classrooms to request this resource will receive the starter kit. Whether it is your first time participating in the contest, or your fourth year of making syrup, you can ask to receive a FREE Maple Starter Kit, which is a $120 value. This kit will include:

  • 10 Blue Sap Bags
  • 10 Galvanized Sap Bag Holders
  • 10 7/16” Hookless Aluminum Spouts
  • 1 7/16” Titanium Tapping Bit
  • 1 Syrup Hydrometer
  • 1 Stainless Steel Hydrometer Test Cup

This will provide all the essential items you will need to tap trees and collect sap this year, and many years to come. You will only be eligible to receive the full kit once, and will receive a new set of sap bags every year after receiving your kit.


New York Agriculture in the Classroom and the NYS Maple Foundation will provide the following prizes in each division:

  • 1st Place - $250
  • 2nd Place - $100
  • 3rd Place - $50
Photo Contest

Schools may submit up to 5 photos of their students actively engaged in any aspect of the Schoolyard Sugaring Contest. One winner will be selected in each grade level and will win $50. Please see the Contest Procedures for more information.


Classrooms are encouraged, but not mandated, to partner with a local maple syrup producer. The NYS Maple Foundation will assist in partnering you with a local producer.


Teachers will be provided lessons and an engaging classroom book to pair with the contest. The materials will be grade-level appropriate.

  • Exploring Maple Syrup Lesson
    This lesson will aide students in understanding the steps and process of turning maple sap into maple syrup, and using their senses to analyze syrup's qualities.
  • How Sweet is Maple Sap? Activity
    Through this simple to implement activity, students will learn the difference between maple sap and maple syrup.
  • Maple Videos
    Show these short, grade-appropriate videos, illustrating the many aspects of maple production. Seven videos for grades Kindergarten through 6 are available.
  • All About Maple Smart Board Activities
    Interactive presentations and activities about maple are available. Topics include maple geography, tree identification, animals in sugarbush, and more.
  • Worksheets
    Use theses great and easy to use worksheets to help reinforce maple concepts such as weather, ecosystems, the process of syrup production, and more. Available for grades Kindergarten through 6.
Middle School
High School
  • Maple Economics by NH Agriculture in the Classroom
    Students will simulate the relationship between producers and consumers while learning about the maple syrup industry in the United States and its competitors.
  • Sugar Concentration and Hydrometers by NH Agriculture in the Classroom
    Students will make and test out their own hydrometer, and use the hydrometer to test the sugar concentration of different grades of maple syrup.
  • Forest Farming Videos
    Cornell University's Dr. Mike Farrell has a collection of 12 short and exceptional videos explaining the many facets of sap collection, reverse osmosis, evaporation, filtering, grading syrup, and more. Highly recommended resource to show your students these engaging and interesting videos.
Basic Maple Information

The links below will provide you with some basic knowledge about the science behind syrup production, and methods for boiling sap to syrup.


Please direct any questions you have about this contest to Katie Carpenter,

View the 2020 winning schools and photographs
View the 2019 winning schools and photographs
View the 2018 winning schools and photographs

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