Four 7th and 8th grade Ventura County Environmental Horticulture and science classes had an exciting week with STEM-Ersion inspired lessons! WEC 2017 STEM-Ersion alumnae, Steve Roth, Racquel Rodarte, Stephanie Grostick, and Nancy Kennedy teach Environmental Horticulture and science at Balboa Middle School in Ventura. As part of these classes, students design and care for the school garden, raise trout, and study agriculture career opportunities.
In 2017, all four Balboa Middle School teachers participated in the WEC's summer teacher Agriculture STEM-Ersion. On day one of the program, teachers toured local ag businesses including Deardorff Family Farms , Houweling’s Tomatoes, and Mission Produce. They learned about the multitude of careers in and the importance of agriculture in Ventura County. During day two, Monsanto gave teachers project-based learning lessons to take back to the classroom to help them share what they learned from the STEM-Ersion experience.
Inspired by Monsanto’s Farmer Game, the Balboa Middle School teachers created a lesson plan that challenged students to convince their classmates to buy a unique fruit or vegetable. In part one of the lesson, students researched and discussed trends in agribusiness marketing - word choices, images, branding, etc. Part two required the students to research the food they selected. In part three, students designed an agribusiness ad and pitch that they presented to the class as part four of the project.
WEC President & CEO, Marybeth Jacobsen, visited Mr. Roth's classroom while the students were designing their ads. She was impressed by the creativity, thoughtfulness, and artistic skills Mr. Roth's students demonstrated. It was an impressive assignment and the students were clearly eager to make their ad the “best“. One student proudly presented his ad for golden berries: "Golden Goodness": With these gold berries, you'll be rich in flavor!
Thanks to the STEM –Ersion alumnae at Balboa Middle School, there are some bright minds that are a bit more interested in careers in agriculture than they were just a week ago. The WEC is proud to be a part of this story about training tomorrow's workforce today.
Examples of final ads Balboa Middle School Students made: