GrowNextGen teacher leader

Rob Niedermeyer

Science/STEM Specialist at ESC of Central Ohio

I support the ESC’s 32 member districts in Central Ohio with any of their science and STEM needs. Data dives, program development, and teacher coaching are just a few of the items that we have requests for, as well as topics such as science fair and robotics.

We design PDs around those requests, but also serve schools by introducing them to other great resources. GrowNextGen workshops are amazing, and I want to be able to pass that to schools interested in stepping away from textbook-based instruction.

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.