New York Agriculture in the Classroom | December 2015
Happy Holidays from NYAITC! 
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Important Dates:

TSC School Garden Grant Now Available!
An exciting new opportunity is now available for NYS elementary teachers. Tractor Supply Company is launching "Dig It"-- a school garden curriculum.  If you would like to start a school garden, revitalize an already existing garden, or expand your garden program, applications are currently being accepted for classroom programs to begin in February 2016.
The program includes a comprehensive curriculum guide developed by National Agriculture in the Classroom, as well as a  $500 TSC gift card to purchase the items needed for the school garden.
For more information or to apply for this great opportunity, visit our website!
Applications are due January 1, 2016.
Holiday Lessons are Here
You can't have the holidays without agriculture! Let us give you the gift of free lesson plans!
Enrich your holiday curriculum with FREE educational resources from the Christmas Tree Farmers Association of NY. 
Through these multi-disciplinary lessons, students will increase their ecological literacy and their understanding of the landscape in which they live. They'll learn the historical context for decorating with evergreens at the darkest time of year-- a tradition that long predates the religious celebration of Christmas. 
Check out all the available resources at their website!
Looking for the perfect last-minute holiday gift?

ag tag

An Ag Tag specialty license plate is an easy and beautiful way to show your support for agricultural education everywhere you travel. Outfit your vehicle with license plates that showcase your enthusiasm and appreciation for the necessity of understanding our state's food and fiber systems. Your purchase helps to support the following programs:

-Agricultural Literacy Week, with over 52,000 students impacted
-Kids Growing Food Mini Grants, $3,000 in support to school gardens
-Food, Land and People Curriculum, over 200 teachers and volunteers trained annually 
-...and many more!

The specialty Ag Tag license plates have an initial cost of $53.75, with an annual renewal fee of $25 which goes directly to support NY Ag in the Classroom programs. Personalized plates are also available.  

Ag Tags are the perfect holiday gift for anyone on your list. For more information, or to order,  click here.

Agricultural  Literacy Week is Coming! Are You Ready?
Ag Literacy Week will be celebrated across the state in just a few short months, March 14th-18th, 2016. 
The selected book for 2016 is The Apple Orchard Riddle by Margaret McNamara and illustrated by G. Brian Karas. This fun and exciting story shares the journey of Mr. Tiffin's class on a field trip to an apple orchard.

If you would like to volunteer as a reader for Ag Literacy Week, sign up here!

Teachers, if you would like a volunteer to read and conduct an activity in your classroom during Ag Literacy Week,
Teacher Resources
Circling the Seasons Lesson Plan
Winter is coming and will be here officially December 21st. Help your students learn more about the changing of the seasons and their impact on agriculture across the world. Relating the seasons to specific weather, students will see that when it is cold in the Northern hemisphere, it is hot in the Southern hemisphere. Using their birthdays as a timeline, some students may want to move to another continent for better birthday weather! 
This lesson is available for K-2 as well as 3-5 and can be adapted for higher levels as well. 
Check out this and the many other lessons available by searching our Agricultural Literacy Curriculum Matrix , consider it our gift to you: free lesson plans!
Catch the Latest BUZZ About Pollinators
Did you know that honeybees can fly 15 miles per hour? 
Or that butterflies actually taste with their feet? 

If you didn't, then you haven't played the newest My American Farm-The Buzz! Along with a host of other pollinator facts, check out how bees and butterflies do their part in producing food for the world! 
It's not only fun, it's also educational! Along with the game comes an activity sheet that  challenges students to cut out a butterfly and assemble the puzzle correctly. There's also a lesson plan which introduces students to pollination while reinforcing reading skills. 
Growing "Martian" Food
Is it possible to grow food on Mars? The idea might not be so "out of this world" as you thought!
See how the University of Alabama is bringing this idea to life. If you've been to the movies lately, this might seem familiar as Gene Giacomelli , director of the University of Arizona's Controlled Environment Agriculture Center, or CEAC, shared the same challenges in growing crops as the fictitious botanist stranded on Mars in the new movie "The Martian."
Virtual Labs
Do you want to give your students real lab experience but don't have the equipment? Now you can transform your classroom into a food science and safety lab through the computer.  These Virtual Labs help students learn basic laboratory techniques and practice methods used by lab technicians and researchers in a variety of careers, using specific food science lab processes. Check them out today!
There is even an accompanying  Food Safety Scientist Curriculum and hands-on laboratory experiments ideas, discussion guides and more here
Bringing Bio-Tech to Life Curriculum 
The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture has released a new educational resource you should know about and share with other educators: our "Bringing Biotechnology to Life" Curriculum. These
FREE lessons meet 7th-10th grade national learning standards, though the lessons can be adapted for other age groups. You can download the lessons  here .
The seven Project Based Learning lessons teach learners about DNA, selective breeding over time, biotechnology today, and genetically modified organisms or GMOs.This resource is perfect for science educators and those who want to know more about biotechnology and its role in food production. 

Winter is Here! Is Your Garden Ready?
Don't let old man winter ruin your home or school garden. Preparing your garden for winter will make it easier to start up again in the spring. Check out these 5 cool tips from Cornell Garden-Based Learning!
Looking for a Timely Book?
Whether or not you've had your first snow this year, it's bound to be on the minds of your students as we approach winter break. Satisfy their craving with Snow Comes to the Farm, by Nathaniel Tripp.  This story tells about two brothers waiting and watching for the first snow of winter.  Snow is coming, and soon farmland and forest, ground and sky will be transformed, what will happen at the farm?
NY Agriculture in the Classroom |
29A Plant Science
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853