New York Agriculture in the Classroom | December 2017
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Important Dates:

Dec. 8 -  Grow with Us Grant Applications Due

Dec. 12- DOE Sustainability Grant Applications Due

Jan. 1 - On the Farm Applications Due

Jan. 5 - Arbor Day Poster Contest Submissions Due

Jan. 26- Top Cut Beef Contest Submissions Due

Grow with Us Grant: Sprouting Inspiration Deadline Approaching
New York Agriculture in the Classroom is offering an unprecedented grant for New York Schools to earn plant grow systems to engage students in learning through food and eating healthy foods year-round.  

Applications are open now and due Friday, December 8th. Visit our website  to learn more about the eligibility requirements, view photos of the featured grow systems, and apply for the grant.

On the Farm Educator Event
If you're hungry for real world connections and hands-on learning, the On the Farm educator event is calling. Discover key educational concepts brought to life by American beef cattle ranchers, researchers, nutritionists and veterinarians at this event sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture.  Applications for these grant-funded, 3-day professional development events are open until January 1st. 

If you're interested in this opportunity, find out more here
AgCultures- Journey to South America
AgCultures is a new, free online education program designed to spur middle and high school student's interest in, and knowledge of, the many facets of agriculture.  The AgCultures team is undertaking a series of expeditions over three years that capture extraordinary stories about the future of agriculture from scientists, farmers, and technological innovators around the globe. The team departed for South America November 5 and will be sharing updates and videos direct from the field.

Educators have access to a free online learning environment with a STEM-focused curriculum tied to issues the team is exploring, along with a free classroom management system. The  curriculum and activities  included in the AgCultures online site will grow with each new expedition. Students worldwide can  Take It Local  and share their own story as they work online alongside the AgCultures team investigating the world's food puzzles.

Arbor Day Poster Contest 
Know a creative fifth grader? The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is looking for original artwork for the annual 5th Grade  Arbor Day  Poster  Contest ! The theme this year is "Trees for Bees." The New York State winner will have his or her artwork replicated as the official 2018 New York State 5th Grade Arbor Day Poster! For more information, lesson plans, and activities, visit   For poster contest rules, visit  The submission deadline is January 5, 2018. 

Department of Education Sustainability Project Grant 
The DOE Office of Sustainability is offering their 2nd Annual Sustainability Grant to NYC public schools.  The grant is an opportunity to apply for funding or materials to support achievable, impactful sustainability projects at your school. Grant focus areas include waste reduction, energy efficiency, water conservation, green team support or gardening. The application deadline is Tuesday, December 12, 2017. Click here to read all grant requirements and fill out the application. 

Teacher Resources
Discover Christmas Trees
This lesson is composed of six learning activities to teach about the Christmas tree. Science, history, and geography topics are used to teach about the history of the Christmas tree, life cycle of a conifer, types of trees and how they adapt, working on a Christmas tree farm, and the ecology of conifer trees. This lesson is available for grades Kindergarten- 2 and 3-5
Value-Adding on a Christmas Tree Farm
In this activity, students will learn how to add value to Christmas trees by making scented pillows from balsam fir needles which can be used for gifts or potentially as a fundraiser for your classroom. Older students can also calculate the potential income from selling their value-added projects.

Middle School/ High School
The Nitrogen Cycle Game 
Have you ever struggled with teaching the nitrogen cycle? Or have your students had a difficult time grasping the concept? It's required learning, but it doesn't mean it's easy! Try the "Cycling the Nitrogen Cycle" game    to enforce the concepts after a discussion on nitrogen fixation, ammonium, volatilization, nitrate, and denitrification.  Students can break into groups to play this board game and will have fun while learning!
Vertical Farming
How can we grow in new directions? In this video for middle school, explore ways to reduce our impact on the environment by thinking about farming in a new direction...up! Produced by the California Academy of Sciences, this video uses lesson plan approaches to critical thinking to help students learn about a new way of farming. 
Food Labels Made Easy 
We see food labels everyday, but do we pay attention to them or actually understand them? This video makes reading a nutrition label easy and can help your students see their value. 

 If you are participating in Top Cut: A Beef Contest, this could be a good way to help your students understand nutrition labels and get them started on creating their own. 
December Book Nook
Where Would I Be in an Evergreen Tree?
This story-in-verse explores the beauty of the Pacific Northwest through the ecosystem of an evergreen tree. The tree's life cycle is illustrated by the variety of plants and animals it supports. Andrea Gabriel's pastel images perfectly complement the gentle, informative text and Jennifer Blomgren's sensitive use of language make the book appealing to both children and parents in any locale. Consider pairing this book with the Growing Up Evergreen lesson. 
It Feels Like Snow
Alice doesn't need a weather forecast to tell if it's going to snow. She can feel it in her toes and elbows and nose. Each time she feels a twitch or a tingle, she warns her neighbors. 'There's snow coming,' she tells Etta and Gretta Grillo. 'I can feel it in my toe!' Like Alice's other neighbors, the Grillo sisters laugh and ignore her warning. But sure enough, the snow falls and catches everyone by surprise- everyone that is except Alice, who has loaded in her supplies. But now she feels a big snowstorm coming. And still her neighbors ignore her warnings. What will Alice do?
Find companion lessons here
Germ Stories
This is charming collection of poems written by Nobel Prize-winning scientist Arthur Kornberg to help us learn about the germs that help and harm us. These rollicking, entertaining, and informative poems have been illustrated with witty and amusing watercolors and the book also contains electron micrographs and a glossary for the student who wants to go deeper into the world of microbiology.
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