Agriculture in the Classroom Conference For Teachers

Published on Friday, 1/27/2006 6:28 pm | by Agricultural Commission | Updated on Friday, 11/7/2014 11:45 am | Automatically Archived on 2/11/2006

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Agriculture in the Classroom Conference For Teachers
Baird Middle School in Ludlow, Massachusetts
Saturday, February 11, 2006
8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom is sponsoring a Statewide Conference for teachers at The Baird Middle School in Ludlow, Massachusetts on Saturday, February 11 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Titled “Growing Minds Through Massachusetts Agriculture,” the conference offers educators throughout the state ideas and resources and many opportunities for sharing and networking, including a poster session, visual reports on mini-grants and vendor exhibits.

The 5th Annual Growing Minds through Massachusetts Agriculture Conference offers educational and networking resources that can facilitate and enhance pre_K through 12th grade classroom teachers alike. This year’s conference will feature a choice of four concurrent workshops during each of four workshop sessions. Workshops will explore the many diverse commodity sectors of Massachusetts Agriculture while providing hands_on learning opportunities that bring agriculture alive in the classroom. Speakers, panels and activities will emphasize agriculture and hands_on activities for the classroom. Don’t miss this day of discussion, interaction and opportunities for exploring new ideas for your Massachusetts classroom. The $45 fee includes lunch and all materials. ($50 on the day of the conference) Ten Professional Development Points are provided for those who attend the full day conference, carry out a related classroom activity, and send in a brief report of their experience.

The day will begin with registration from 8:00 to 8:30 a.m., followed by a Welcome and Introductions. At 9:00 a.m. the first of four concurrent workshop sessions will begin. Choose from four workshops during each concurrent sessions from 9:00 to 10:10 a.m.; 10:20 to 11:30 a.m.; 12:50 to 2:00 p.m. and 2:10 to 3:20 p.m

9:00 to 10:10 Concurrent Workshop Session (Choose one of 4 Workshops)

Workshop 1: Making the Farm to School Connection- Chickens in the Classroom

Lenore Paul, 5th grade teacher from the Veterans Park School in Ludlow, will tell you what everyone should know about the most versatile of farm animals – the chicken. Learn about the history of rare breeds, why they are important, interesting facts about chickens and how to raise chickens in the classroom. Activities will include the dissection of an egg, building with eggs and Meet-A-Hen. Suitable for grades K-12

Workshop 2: Teaching About Alternative Energy
The Renewable Energy Trust in Westborough offers a number of classroom resources for K-12 teachers and also offers workshops and grants for teachers and students. Public Education Coordinator Marybeth Campbell, will review available programs and resources related to Renewable energies such as solar, photovoltaics, hydro and wind power. She will also offer resources on green buildings and climate change. Then try out a couple of hands-on activities suitable for middle and high school classrooms.

Workshop 3: Bringing American History to Life: All Manner of Making and Mending
Tools tell the story of the life and work of the people who used them. Dennis Picard, Living History Interpreter and Director of the Storrowton Village Museum in West Springfield will bring in a collection of 18th and 19th century farm implements from the barnyard, dairy and kitchen. Learn how these tools were used and about the life of the farmer in New England. Dennis will showcase several tools that were invented in Massachusetts and will offer activity ideas for teaching with tools in the classroom. You are invited to bring in a item/tool about which you have always wondered or have a story . Suitable for grades K-12.
Workshop 4: The Science and the People Behind Our Daily Bread
Learn how the eight-grade language arts and science teachers from the Four Rivers Charter School in Greenfield teamed up to provide a interdisciplinary investigation into what is in our food, where it comes from, how technology is changing our food, methods of farming, and who are the farmers? Students examined the common elements and compounds found in most of what we eat. They learn about soil chemistry, fertilizers, and photosynthesis and traced the journey of some of their favorite foods from the soil to the market. They debated the pros and cons of genetically modified food and its impact on the environment and the farmer. To gain an appreciation for the changes and challenges faced by today�s farmers, students interviewed area farmers and published what they learned. (Middle School) Instructors: Leif Riddington 8th Grade Language Arts Teachers Four Rivers Charter School, Greenfield and Deirdre Scott, Science teacher, Chicopee.

At 10:10 a.m. there will be a brief break and participants will choose a workshop for the next session concurrent session which will last from 10:20 to 11:30 a.m. (Choose one of four workshops).

Workshop 1: Aquaculture in the Classroom
Aquaculture is a growing industry in the United States and the world. It also offers a tool for providing diversity on the family farm. Craig Hollingsworth from the Western Massachsetts Center for Sustainable Aquaculture at the University of Massachusetts and Bob Brodeur, a teacher at Cathedral High School in Springfield have teamed up to develop an aquaculture program for the classroom. They will present an overview of aquaculture and then show a range of projects, from simple to complex, that can be adopted for the middle and high school science program.

Workshop 2: Growing and Saving Heirloom Seeds
The Growing and Saving of Heirloom Seeds offers a wealth of opportunity for education about genetics, diversity, agricultural history, pollination, botany and gardening. Adrienne Shelton, Farm Manager from Red Gate Farm in Buckland will offer a brief explanation of seed saving, including and overview of how to collect and store the seeds and which varieties are best suited for seed saving. She will also share specific seed saving activities for teachers to use in the classroom with students of all ages. Suitable for grades K-12.

Workshop 3: Water Quality and Watersheds
Using the a series of engaging hands-on activity taken from the internationally recognized Project WET curriculum, Maria Beiter-Tucker, Park Manager from the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, will offer ideas for teaching about watersheds and water pollution. Investigate how watersheds work and how water flows through these systems. Then learn about water quality, pollutants and their sources, and how pollutants can affect watersheds. This workshop will help students to recognize that we all contribute to water pollution and that we can all reduce pollution. Targeted for middle and high-school level.

Workshop 4: FAT TOM, Food Safety and other Lessons from the Life Cycle of Bacteria
Pathogenic bacteria are one of the major causes of food-borne illness. Some bacteria can cause disease even in small amounts; others become more harmful as they multiply to dangerous levels. Rita Brennan Olson, Nutrition Education and Training Coordinator for the Massachusetts Department of Education, will offer a food-safety workshop focusing on FAT Tom and real-life lessons that we can learn from the life cycle of bacteria and food safety. You will also be introduced to resources you can use to help your students understand the conditions that effect microbial growth in a lab and at home. Suitable for grades K-12.

At 11:30 the group will break for lunch (lunch will be provided) and will also have a chance to visit exhibits. There will also be a presentation on the History of Agriculture in Massachusetts by Kent Lage, Assistant Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources. An Award will be given to our 2005 Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom Teacher of the Year, Bill Pineda, 7th grade Science Teacher from the Nissitissit Middle School in Pepperell.
The third session of Concurrent Workshops will begin at 12:50 and continue until 2:00 p.m. Choose one of four workshops.

Workshop 1: Integrating Environmental & Agricultural Activities into the Curriculum Frameworks
Bill Pineda, our Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom Teacher of the Year for 2005 is a seventh- grade life-science teacher at the Nissitissit Middle School in Pepperell. He will offer a variety of ways to integrate environmental and agricultural activities into the curriculum frameworks for grades 6 to 8. He will discuss and offer activity ideas for breeding rabbits, rats, pigeons and chickens; forestry management; tapping maple trees and making maple syrup; creating an orchard; planting and maintaining a garden; vernal pool study; bluebird and bat trails; wildlife observation center; deer tracking and trapping fish. Middle School.

Workshop 2: Fibers, Fibers and More Fibers

Are you wearing a tree? Can you knit with bamboo yard? Why do alpaca dry out quickly after a rainstorm while sheep stay soggy? What do flax, yak, silk or llama look like under a microscope? How are the clothes that you are wearing related to what is raised or grown on a farm? Joann Greenwood has begun to explore ideas like these with her elementary grade science classes at the Chestnut Hill School. We don’t have al of the answers but we do have many interesting questions. Explore activities with llama, alpaca, sheep, yak, tencel, hemp, silk, bamboo and other natural fibers. Learn the history of fibers, their , as well as activity ideas and sources for further information. Elementary to Middle School.

Workshop 3: Plant Propagation in the Classroom

There are a wide variety of propagation methods that will increase the number of plants that are available for use in the classroom. Becky Bottomley, horticulture and environmental science teacher at Quabbin Regional High School in Barre will show you how to plant seeds, make leaf, petiole and stem cuttings and how to divide. She will discuss planting medium for the classroom and will offer a variety of botany and horticultural activities to accompany your propagation lessons. Suitable for grades K-12.

Workshop 4: Maple Sugaring in the Classroom
Each February Louise Butler’s second grade classroom at the Cold Spring School in Belchertown becomes a maple classroom. The students study the history of maple sugaring, tap trees, make syrup, draw and chart, sing songs, write story and generally immerse themselves in the maple season. Local Maple producer Richard MacIntire visits the classroom to bring his equipment and answer questions about the process. Join Louise and Richard as they take you through the many activities from their maple classroom. Elementary to Middle School.

The last concurrent workshops session will be held from 2:10 to 3:20 p.m. Choose one of four workshops.

Workshop 1: Art Meets Agriculture in the Classroom

Two art teachers from Ludlow will share a variety of ideas and activities that they have used to incorporate agriculture into their art lessons. Pamela Barch from Ludlow High School will join Nancy Cox from the Veterans Park School will take you through several art activities to make the connection between the farm and the classroom. You will also receive a packet of additional classroom tested ideas to take home with you. Elementary School

Workshop 2: Make Mine Milk in the Classroom

This workshop will offer you everything you ever wanted to know about cows, dairy, farming, milk and milk products. Dairy Farmer, Marjorie Cooper from Cooper’s Hilltop Dairy Farm in Leicester, has been teaching about dairy and cows and collecting educational materials on dairy for decades. She will show off some of the best of these materials from videos and books to farm curriculum and nutrition resources. Make ice cream and butter in sample classroom activities and learn the life cycle of the cow, what it takes to raise cows, dairy economics and the history of dairy farming in Massachusetts. Elementary to Middle School.

Workshop 3: Heifer Project International: A Great Educational Experience
Mother and daughter pair, Nancy and Angela Possinger, spent several months in the past year as the host family at Heifer Project International’s Overlook Farm in Rutland, MA. They will share information about this world development organization that is fighting hunger by helping families become self-sufficient. Nancy to Angela will lead activities to introduce the participant to Heifer Project International.

Workshop 4: Nutrition in the Classroom
Meet the new Food Guide Pyramid. Dr. Jean Anliker is An Associate Professor and Extension Nutrition Educator at the University of Massachusetts. She will introduce you to the new USDA Food Guide Pyramid and offer a variety of classroom activities suitable for grades K-12.

The day will end at 3:00 p.m. with a Poster Viewing Session, Evaluations and Distribution of Educational Materials related to Massachusetts Agriculture.

The mission of Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom is to foster an awareness and learning in all areas related to the food and agriculture industries and the economic and social importance of agriculture to the state, nation and the world. In addition to the workshops on the farm for teachers, Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom offers a seasonal newsletter; a Teacher’s Resource Directory of agricultural materials and providers; mini-grants for teachers and educators; and educational resources including a curriculum for grades K-8; a video of Massachusetts agriculture with accompanying lessons; a farm field trip manual; a manual with eight lessons and activities about agriculture and the environment interactive and our new school gardening partnership manual.

For more information on the Growing Minds through Massachusetts Agriculture Conference or on Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom, contact Debi Hogan at 508-336-4426 or write to Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom, PO. Box 345, Seekonk, MA 02771. or visit our Web Site at www.aginclassroom.org

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