Virginia Agriculture in the Classroom has awarded 20 STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) grants to schools and a 4-H chapter for spring 2020. Among the schools awarded part of the $9,000 total is Prices Fork Elementary School in Blacksburg.
The grants will provide 8,000 youth in 19 localities with agriculture experiences incorporating science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Projects include topics like hydroponics, animal agriculture and leadership development.
The grants were made possible through funding from the Virginia Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom.
“Agriculture in the Classroom STEM grants provide an opportunity for educators to integrate science, technology, engineering, agriculture and mathematics,” explained Tammy Maxey, Virginia AITC’s senior education manager. “The spring STEM grants enable students to have an agricultural experience while integrating higher-level STEM concepts.”
In addition to Prices Fork Elementary School, grants were received by Albemarle County: Crozet Elementary School and Paul H. Cale Elementary School; Bedford County: Staunton River Middle School; Bland County: Bland County Elementary School; Caroline County: Bowling Green Elementary School; Chesapeake: Atlantic Shores Christian School; Chesterfield County: Curtis Elementary School; Fairfax County: Belvedere Elementary School; Halifax County: Halifax County High School; Harrisonburg: Stone Spring Elementary School; Louisa County: Trevilians Elementary School; New Kent County: New Kent Middle School; Newport News: Trinity Lutheran School; Richmond: Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School; Southampton County: Southampton High School; Stafford County: Stafford 4-H; Washington County: Meadowview Elementary School; Williamsburg: Warhill High School; Virginia Beach: Three Oaks Elementary School
AITC’s STEM grants give educators the opportunity to develop more immersive projects to include in their curriculums. Sarah Conner, a pre-kindergarten teacher at Crenshaw Elementary School in Chesterfield, was awarded an AITC grant in October 2019. Conner partnered with a farmer to provide hands-on activities for students to learn about a chicken’s life cycle and embryology.
“It was by far one of my favorite projects I’ve experienced with my students in the 25 years I’ve been teaching,” Conner said. “My pre-K students even taught older students everything they learned. It was quite amazing to see 4-year-olds leading discussions with fifth graders about embryology and a chicken’s life.”
Agriculture in the Classroom is a national program that promotes greater understanding of agriculture through education. The Virginia Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom is a nonprofit organization that receives financial and administrative support from Virginia Farm Bureau Federation. More information is available at AgInTheClass.org.