Middle School Agriculture Education
Nutrition, history, environmental science, economics, literature, art and math, community service – the world of agriculture is a rich and diverse field for interdisciplinary studies, especially in middle school!
Teachers of middle school students know that this high energy group can be especially motivated to investigate, build, demonstrate and display their passions for the planet and their communities. Incorporating ag and natural resources curriculum is a powerful way to engage motivated students!
Ag and the Bay
Students venture out to Swan Harbor Farm in Havre de Grace, Maryland, home of the Maryland Agricultural Education Foundation! Spend a full or half day exploring how a working landscape is managed to protect the Chesapeake Bay.
Depending on the time of year, students may participate in soil testing, forest buffer plantings, a wildlife inventory, water quality testing, pollinator surveys, cover crop assessments, nutrient management planning, and career connections. Based in issues investigation and STEM, this program can also be adapted for any waterfront farm that utilizes best practices for a healthy Bay, interested in hosting student groups.
A perfect outing for an Environmental Literacy experience!
Ag and the Bay can also be adapted for a professional development experience – please call or email for more details.
Leopold Education Project
This nationally acclaimed professional development workshop introduces students and teachers to the work, life and legacy of Aldo Leopold, Father of Conservation Agriculture and the Land Ethic. This one-day workshop is based upon Leopold’s most well-known book, A Sand County Almanac, that all participants receive, along with a curriculum guide and supplementary materials. Through literature, observation and engagement with the working landscape, and the history of conservation policy and practice, the LEP provides teachers with ideas for conservation, sustainability and stewardship education. In addition, MAEF provides consultation in how to adapt the curriculum to particular needs and audiences, K-12. Perfect for designing Environmental Literacy experiences on campus or off!
Life-Cycling is a series of project-based curriculum enhancements that put scientific processes to work in agriculture and natural resources conservation. This collection of projects will continue to grow – check back often! Teachers can download construction and care directions for each project, request a workshop for professional development experience for their school or district, and share their student’s success stories with the MAEF network and beyond. Green Schools will dig this!
Students raise and maintain worm composting bins to address waste-stream issues in the lunch room. Worm compost provides rich casting and tea fertilizers for their school’s indoor plants or as an amendment to the school garden.
This project teaches husbandry, quantification of waste stream and compost product, and sustainable systems design. Career connections for waste managers, recyclers, landscaper, and animal husbandry.
Students work with simple tools and stock lumber to create a “flat pack” three part compost bin that can be moved to a site and assembled easily. Once compostable materials are gathered, students monitor internal temperature, decomposition rates, soil biota, and determine when their product is ready for use! Career connections for engineers, waste managers, nutrient management, and ag business.
Wild Bee Patch
Students learn about ecosystem services through the construction of a pollinator garden on their school campus. Students conduct a plant and bee inventory, track bloom periods, weather data, and conduct periodic surveys for wild bees! Students learn basic taxonomy and how species richness determines ecological integrity in rural, suburban, and urban areas, with an emphasis on food systems. Career connections for landscape architecture, biology and ecology, conservation planning, and food system science.