Summer outreach builds GrowNextGen community

GrowNextGen.org exists to equip Ohio’s science and agriscience teachers with tools and resources to connect agriculture and science in the classroom and to educate students about careers in science and agriculture. GrowNexGen’s teacher leaders hit the road this summer to help spread the word about the site and engage teachers and students directly in using the site’s resources.

STEM-Art Integration: June 20th

Pam Snyder, a GrowNextGen teacher leader and curriculum developer who teaches biology, genetics and biotechnology at Fort Hayes Career Center, was a guest instructor for a STEM-Art Integration course at the Ohio State University. The course was offered to Columbus City School teachers, and 18 teachers attended the day Snyder guest taught. Snyder presented a modified version of a GrowNextGen lesson that integrates both art and science to teach the central dogma theory in genetics. The teachers who attended were also introduced to the GrowNextGen website and resources.

According to Kerry Dixon, one of the STEM-Art Integration course’s developers and instructors, “We are already starting to see a ripple effect from exposure to the GrowNextGen resources. One of the teachers who attended was inspired to develop her own exemplary art-genetics lesson plan for her final class project, and she has been educating other teachers from her school about the topic as she engages them in her project.”

Agriscience Workshop: August 7th

Whitney Short and Courtney Bockbrader, both GrowNextGen teacher leaders who also teach agriculture education at Anthony Wayne High School, hosted a professional development day for area agriculture and science teachers. During this event, Short and Bockbrader introduced the 12 participating teachers to the GrowNextGen website and its curriculum, taught laboratory procedures, and conducted labs that are relevant for use in both ag programs and science classrooms.

As part of the GrowNextGen initiative, Short and Bockbrader are working to develop a network of teachers in Northwest Ohio who share equipment, lab ideas and more. They promoted the GrowNextGen Equipment Kit that is available to teachers in Northwest Ohio and introduced attendees to the new “Idea Share” link that has been added to their network’s website.

Short said, “GrowNextGen.org and its resources enable us to lead a strong, interactive network for northwest Ohio agriculture and science teachers.”

Global Impact STEM Academy’s Global Market/Fair: August 22nd

Jeanne Gogolski, one of the developers and managers of the GrowNextGen initiative, promoted the website and the Ohio Soybean Council (OSC) at the Global Market/Fair hosted by the Global Impact STEM Academy (GISA) in Springfield. The event was conceived as a way to help students gain knowledge of the industries that are right here in Central Ohio.

Gogolski developed a display to educate students about bioproducts—products that use soybeans as a renewable resource rather than plastics and other non-renewable materials—and the thriving bioproducts industry in Ohio. Other stations included displays or demonstrations from The Ohio State University, Clark State Community College, Fresh Water Farms of Ohio, Speedway convenience stores, Woebers Mustard, Youngs Jersey Dairy, and James Layne, an environmental freelance writer.

This was GISA’s first time to host such an event. The 150 students who attended were instructed to visit each station, ask two to three questions about the organization, and record their notes for later discussion. Students also used world maps to plot the locations of each organization. What a great way to expose students to local industries making a difference in Central Ohio!

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