GrowNextGen teacher leader

Rob Niedermeyer

Design and Engineering teacher at Hannah Ashton Middle School

Niedermeyer is interesting in sharing about and collaborating on these topics: Maker spaces, engineering, Design Cycle, STEM, PBL, biofuels, aquaponics, environmental science, food science, and food insecurity.

What about teaching excites you?
The most exciting part of being an educator is setting my students loose to solve an authentic problem. Students get to use their voice and their personal background experiences to develop unique solutions to our question. Since it is an authentic problem I may not have all of the answers, so it it my job to guide them and help refine their thinking. This makes the problem a learning experience for both student and teacher.

What was the “aha” moment when you realized the value of using agriculture as a vehicle to teach science?
I started working with GrowNextGen by using one or two of their lessons to supplement my science class. Those lessons were such a success that students asked follow-up questions that could again be answered with the use of agricultural practices. Agricultural products can be found in every part of our life, and the processes behind them can be used to answer most of the content taught in today’s science classes.

How do you help students make the industry or real-world connection to what they’re learning?
True understanding happens when students are exposed to real-world experiences. The Problem-Based Learning (PBL) model naturally connects students to industry leaders and the real-world. My teaching team and I incorporate PBL into our classrooms on a daily basis.