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Schools nurture students’ agriculture interests

USA Today – Stephanie Anderson Witmer

“A dozen students in Meagan Slates’ plant sciences class at Penn Manor High School in Millersville, Pa., cluster in small groups in the school’s greenhouse. In a previous class, they’d trimmed the meristems of coleus plants, and now they’re measuring new growth with rulers. The coleus are among the few plants in the greenhouse after the school’s annual plant sale, but a week earlier, it had been teeming with flowers, vegetables and bedding plants that the students had grown themselves. “They started at the beginning of the semester planting seeds, transplanted things into different containers and grew them for our plant sale,” says Slates. “They got a feel for how a greenhouse would run.” Learning by doing is the norm rather than the exception in Penn Manor’s Agriculture Education program. This hands-on learning approach, plus the opportunity to use state-of-the-art equipment and technology, are big reasons Penn Manor’s program has become increasingly popular.”(more)

Send children outside: Nature is the best training ground for STEM careers

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette – Marijke Hecht

“Outdoor environmental education cultivates curiosity and discovery in children, the fundamental building blocks of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) literacy, and it encourages students to make science a part of everyday life. The need to prepare students for STEM jobs is a regular refrain at education and business forums around the region and across the country. According to the National Math and Science Initiative, “STEM job creation over the next 10 years will outpace non-STEM jobs significantly, growing 17 percent, as compared to 9.8 percent for non-STEM positions.” STEM educational programs build inquiry skills, foster creativity and prepare students for the kind of flexible and strategic thinking that will be needed for the highly technical 21st century jobs that are emerging. Many of these future jobs will involve new and, perhaps as yet unimagined, advanced technologies.”(more)

It’s Pi Day! Let’s have some pie. (+video)

The Christian Science Monitor – Brad Knickerbocker

“Pi, as anyone who got past 8th grade math remembers, is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter – typically expressed as the simple decimal 3.14, the fraction 22/7, or the Greek letter π. So naturally, 3/14 – the 14th of March – is celebrated as “Pi Day.” And since 3.14 is the beginning, not the end of Pi – it can be decimaled on out to infinity – and since the next two numbers are 1 and 5 voila! today’s date 3/14/15 is really special. So let’s all have some pie!.”(more)

New York the Latest State to Join Farm to School Program

Education News – Kristin Decarr

“New York is the latest state to be chosen to participate in the US Department of Agriculture’s pilot program, Farm to School, connecting school cafeterias with local farmers and ranchers. States chosen to participate receive a federal grant of $100,000, allowing schools to either purchase more foods from local farmers or get students involved in growing their own ingredients on school grounds…The nationwide movement also includes educational activities that highlight the importance of food, farming and nutrition. Hands-on activities include school gardening, farm visits, and culinary classes, as well as the integration of food-related activities within the regular curriculum taught in the classroom.”(more)

Why These Kids Love Kale

NPR – Cory Turner

“The program was founded in 2005 by Bernadine “Bernie” Prince, the co-executive director of a local nonprofit called FRESHFARM Markets. The goal, she says, was to help kids take better care of the land and their bodies.” (more)

Educators add Ag, Art to STEM curriculum

Indianapolis Recorder – JESSICA R. KEY

“The subjects of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, collectively known as STEM, are acknowledged as vital to American education. Now, some educators state other important subjects should be added to STEM: agriculture and/or the arts.” (more)