Some real life learning experiences are connecting the classroom to everyday experiences as elementary students learning through agricultural curriculum discover math, science and reading through egg selling, an aeroponics tower, and caring for animals.
At Cherry Valley Elementary, Seth Anderson said that since he lives on a ranch, the fifth grade lessons centered on agriculture are especially real. “Sometimes you’re just sitting in class all day and just keep on working and working — it’s hard to just stay focused. It’s easier to think of something on the ranch to remind us,” said Seth, 10.
Students at Seth’s school are learning math, science, social studies, reading and writing, but through agricultural related activities.
While building the curriculum, the school has built a chicken coop with four hens. This year, things were accelerated a bit. Kindergarten students are learning about the life cycle of a chicken and how chickens can be helped to produce more eggs.
According to part time science teacher Jan Francis, the new curriculum is a way to connect exciting and hands on learning for students, some of whom live on a ranch or farm.
“What they don’t even know is they’re doing a lot of writing that’s science-related. It’s high-interest, it’s engaging, it’s hands -on,” Francis said.
Ownership over learning for students is important to Francis. The CEOs of the Cherry Valley Elementary Express are fifth and sixth grade students. This is the school based egg business which has sold about six dozen eggs this year. Students have worked on a business plan and older students mentor the younger ones.
“We’ve got to be good examples and do right when we teach them everything, so then they can take it up after us,” Seth said.