Career Technology and STEM--Middle School--Briana Morton and Molly Kundsen (Team--Growing Learners)
2015 Summer Fellowship Plans:
Explore the relationship between science and the food supply through farming in both urban and rural farms throughout California to establish a STEM-based gardening curriculum promoting healthy eating and living.
Homewood Community Garden Twitter
Fund for Teachers video spotlight
Video Overview Briana Morton teaches Family & Consumer Sciences at Homewood Middle School. She explains how she and science teacher Molly Knudsen used the Fund for Teachers grant for their Growing Learners gardening program.
Through this fellowship, our goal is to attend functioning, successful programs like “City College Urban Farm” in San Diego and “Edible Schoolyard” in Berkeley to explore the relationship between the program and the community. These programs have proven that integrating garden curriculum in the content area works and these programs are successful because of community support, which we have. Our goals include: -Creating a network of educators and environmentalists to assist with our preparation in creating new curriculum. -Learning about school lunch reform and how our school’s garden can help change the way both students and the community thinks about food. -Designing an innovative, garden-based K-12 curriculum for our state. We are passionate about learning. We are passionate about teaching. Through collaboration where we Page 1 of 9 Application Number: 026A - 2 026B - Current Grade Level: 6th - 8th Grade, Current Teaching Assignment: Science 026A - Current Grade Level: 6th - 8th Grade, Current Teaching Assignment: Family & Consumer Sciences can learn and teach, we will continue to grow as educators. It will be empowering and reassuring to collaborate with both urban and rural farmers with the same, intrinsic desire to educate students and the community about the importance of school gardens and health. This fellowship will be the key to rejuvenating an existing program that already exists at our school. This fellowship will be essential to rejuvenating our spirits. Environmental education is not seen as a necessity in our state, but we hope through this fellowship, we can find ways to properly inform and educate our school, our community and our state about the need for such programs.
- As educators, we are constantly seeking to learn about, grow, and improve our practice. Neither of us dreamed of an opportunity that would allow us to do all three over a span of 11 days. Throughout our fellowship, we were able to physically see successful programs and hear first-hand from the learning communities that made it possible. San Diego: Seeds at City College (Head farmer, Damien)
- This opportunity provided us with the sense that the operations of our school garden were neither sufficient nor efficient. We are operating a garden when we should be operating a production farm; however, we cannot productively operate a farm with limited manpower and resources.
- We felt validated in our feelings and received excellent resources and means to communicate our feelings and needs to our school board. Damien also provided us with contacts throughout California who would be better equipped to answer our questions to improve our practice. Santa Cruz: LifeLab (Executive Director, Don Burgett)
- Although LifeLab is heavily staffed with volunteers and interns (opposed to our two-person crew), we were given ideas to remedy some of our current problems, such as curriculum development for younger students (grades K-5) and the types of programs that an educational garden/farm should have (i.e., composting stations, beehives, poultry (chickens/ducks) and literacy programs). Berkeley, California: The Edible Schoolyard Academy
- Networked with knowledgeable educators and saw first-hand how to form a sustainable relationship between the program and the community.
- Gained first-hand knowledge on how to develop, maintain, and grow a garden-based educational program within a public middle school.
- Obtained researched-based techniques to provide quality STEM instruction via environmental science and school and community gardens. This also helped us think deeper about the purpose the garden (as well as rural agriculture) serves in our community and in our state.
- Learned how to create inquiry-based programs that answer the “Why?”, “What if?” and ‘How?”
- Found solutions to some of our larger problems (time-management, maintaining the garden in the summer, etc.). The staff taught us how to foster relationships with community members and high schools in order to grow a garden program within the community.
- We have since formed a community volunteer program.