Help me give my students the supplies they need, such as radish seeds, glove garden materials, and greenhouse materials to learn how to set up their own urban garden.
Hooray! This project is fully funded
Hooray! This project is fully funded
Middle school is a time for exploration, and S.T.E.M. gives my diverse group of 6th graders the perfect opportunity to challenge themselves by asking questions, exploring multiple angles, and using their creative imaginations. For my sixth graders, this is a particularly challenging time in their lives because it is their first year of middle school and we receive students from two elementary schools. For many of them, it is a great challenge to be randomly paired with another student whom they might not know and have to work through the challenges of the engineering design process. I have learned a great deal in conflict facilitation in teaching this class over the past several years!
By working through project-based challenges, my future engineers learn important skills such as working cooperatively with others, taking initiative, having good time management, staying organized, engaging in critical thinking, and creativity and problem solving.
“Cultivating Our Future” is project-based learning where students will investigate factors that affect agricultural food production in America. They explore the concept of sustainable farming, how technology has changed agriculture in the US, and modern trends related to urban farming. Students start a radish garden inside the fingers of plastic gloves, and make observations of the garden at different stages of growth. They also engineer and test a greenhouse that meets certain construction requirements and must maintain an acceptable temperature differential between the outside and inside temperatures for food to grow successfully.
As part of this project, students will explore the concept of sustainable farming by creating their own mini urban garden.
They will determine the amount of land available on Earth that is suitable for agriculture. They will compare traditional and organic farming practices. Exploration of the role Earth’s water cycle plays in irrigating farmland will be done as they conduct a case study on how irrigation has affected certain areas of the world, and they will learn how to graph and analyze this experimental data. By moving through the engineering design process cycle, students will ultimately engineer a greenhouse and determine its effectiveness.
By participating in this project, students will not only learn about how agriculture has changed over the years, but will be participating in the engineering process from start to finish, and will be exploring a variety of careers while gaining practical hands-on experience they can continue well after this class ends. Creating their own sustainable garden they can take home will give them a sense of accomplishment and help them realize their importance in maintaining and supporting sustainable and responsible farming practices as they become consumers themselves.
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