Teachers attending the Science Council of Ohio’s Science Symposium had the opportunity to attend presentations of several GrowNextGen activities.
Dublin Jerome High School teacher and GNG teacher leader Chuck Crawford presented Engineering Solutions by Designing and Coding with Robotics for Agriculture. This lesson will soon be available on the GrowNextGen website. Soil systems are important for plant growth. Soil compaction affects the ability for plants to grow. Students are challenged to
- redesign tire and/or tread type on a prototype robotic tractor to address soil compaction
- program the robot to create the effects
- measure the effect of the change to see if it resolves soil compaction.
Crawford showed the prototypes in action and discussed their creation. He said that integrating these concepts creates rich learning environments and combines career opportunities with real-life applications and hands-on learning.
Global Impact STEM Academy teachers and GNG teacher leaders Jennifer Foudray and Rachel Sanders presented Toot..Toot…How can putt-putt boats be powered by soybeans? Biobased fuels are finding their way into many places in our world. Foudray and Sanders outlined a manageable lab to make biodiesel, then allowed participants to interact with the products to determine if there is a difference in fuel that is recovered (waste oil) vs processed soybean oil (virgin). They shared how this lab activity can be adapted for middle and high school students in various science and STEM-based courses, as well as how to draw in other disciplines.
GrowNextGen presenters Jane Hunt and Heather Bryan led Biogeochemical cycles—why bother? Teachers participated in a nitrogen cycle simulation, taking on the roles of bacteria and the forms of nitrogen. They also discussed the importance of nitrogen to food production and water quality, and learned about new curriculum related to recent water quality research.