Fifteen Ventura County middle school teachers participated in the WEC's Ag STEM-Ersion this week. It was FANTASTIC!
We toured Mission Produce, Deardorff Family Farms organic yard, Houweling's Tomatoes, and Monsanto's processing plant. The tours included everything from the largest packing plant in North America to hydroponic greenhouse tomatoes to organic celery fields and high tech seed processing.
On day two, Monsanto explained the GMO world and shared amazing project based learning lessons with our teachers. Teachers were given instructions and videos for projects that included strawberry DNA removal, a farmer game requiring students to make growing decisions and to calculate a season's ROI, opportunities to use the scientific method to document the difference in germination of tomato seeds that have traveled in space and seeds that have not, and then they attacked the critical thinking skills required by the Armadillo Challenge.
One teacher summed the experience up when she said: "This is reality and what we need to integrate into our classrooms. Real world application of science here in our local economy is critical for career preparation."