New York Agriculture in the Classroom | March 2018
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Important Dates:

March 17/18 & 24/25- Maple Weekend

March 19-23 - Agricultural Literacy Week

March 31- GrowTogether Conference

April 15- White-Reinhardt Mini Grant Applications Due

April 23- National AITC Conference Scholarship Applications Due

May 25- Final Agricultural Literacy Grant Applications Due

Let us pay your way to the National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference in Portland, Maine!
Join New York Agriculture in the Classroom for the premier professional development conference about teaching through a lens of food and agriculture. Sixty teachers from New York will be selected for expenses-paid attendance to the National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference in downtown Portland, Maine. Teachers from across the nation will gather to learn from skilled presenters, engaging keynote addresses, and from each other. 

Included with the scholarship is conference registration and meals, transportation, a double occupancy hotel room, and 28 hours of CTLE Professional Development. Scholarship applications are due April 23, 2018. For more information about the scholarship and the application, check out our website
NEW! Funding for your Creative Classroom Projects - Apply for an Agricultural Literacy Grant
The new Agricultural Literacy Grant was created to help fund your most creative ideas to teach through a lens of agriculture. Submit your great idea to enhance your classroom learning and let New York Agriculture in the Classroom support your endeavor to include agriculture as a context for learning.

An Agricultural Literacy Grant proposal can be anywhere between $10 to a maximum of $1,200. Proposals for the Agricultural Literacy Grant can include, but are not limited to: f unding for farm field trips, p urchasing agriculturally accurate books, m aterials for classroom projects, s tarting a courtyard chicken coop, and e xpanding your school garden project, and more. 

Grant proposals will be accepted on a rolling basis until Friday, May 25, 2018 and s ubmissions will be reviewed every two weeks. Find more information and the  application here
Agricultural Literacy Week
Agricultural Literacy Week is almost here! The week of March 19-23, in celebration of New York agriculture, volunteers throughout the state will read a book with an agricultural theme to second graders. Students and teachers will also benefit from hands-on lessons and receive follow up activities. A copy of Before We Eat will be donated to the school or classroom library with a bookplate recognizing the donor and New York Agricultural Literacy Week. 2,000 books were donated last year while thousands of second graders participated in fun and educational activities. Visit our website to find out how you can get involved!
Get Funding For Your Ag Literacy Project!
Do you have an ag literacy project or program idea? Work through your state or county Farm Bureau to apply for a White-Reinhardt mini-grant! 

The White-Reinhardt Mini-Grant Program funds projects that will increase agricultural literacy. New this year, county and state Farm Bureaus may apply for $1,000 grants for education programs for grades K-12 in order to initiate new ag literacy programs or expand existing programs. They  are looking to fund innovating and exciting programs that teach learners about our food, fiber and fuel systems. Applications must be submitted online by April 15th, 2018. Learn more and read about who won the last round here
GreenThumb's 34th Annual GrowTogether Conference
GreenThumb's 34th Annual GrowTogether Conference is almost here!  They are kicking off gardening season and "Honoring Our Roots" for their 40th anniversary on March 31st, celebrating four decades of supporting community gardens in NYC. The conference includes keynote speaker  Karen Washington, featured panels, and more than 50 workshops on a variety of topics. Visit their website to get tickets and more information. 
Maple Weekend
During Maple Weekend maple farms across New York State invite visitors to their "sugar houses" to experience firsthand how pure, mouth-watering maple syrup and other related products are made.  Visitors also have the opportunity to enjoy fun, family-friendly activities, taste New York's freshest syrup and purchase maple products. Experience this for yourself at participating maple farms March 17-18 and 24-25. 

Visit to learn more and find a maple farm near you.

2018 is the Year of the Tractor!
Where would you find a 1918 Waterloo Boy tractor, a grain sickle from the 1900s, and a first-generation GPS receiver together?  Only at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.
The museum is celebrating 2018 as the Year of the Tractor with two new displays showcasing the past, present, and future of agriculture within the American Enterprise exhibition.

"History is best when iconic objects and anniversary dates coincide," says Peter Liebhold, the museum's agriculture curator. "Making 2018 the year of the tractor gives the public an opportunity to appreciate the past, learn insight about the process of innovation, and the unintended consequences of change."

 The exhibit highlights the introduction of light-weight, gasoline-powered tractors, a major revolution in agriculture that moved farming into the world of commercial production. Historical images and advertisements marketing the 1918 tractor are also featured. One image showcases a drone flying over a Kansas corn field, providing a glimpse into the future of agricultural technologies. Learn more about the exhibit here

To incorporate the year of the tractor into your curriculum, follow the links to find resources like the lesson Machines and People, the book John Deere, That's Who!, a video about the World's Largest Combine, and more!

Teacher of the Year Spotlight
Christina Cassel- Teacher of the Year, Middle School Division
Christina is the eighth grade Home and Careers teacher at Southhampton Intermediate School. Christina's students have learned that food is more than just something you eat and have been able to find their own connections to agriculture and food through her informative and locally-based lessons. 

Christina's curriculum extends beyond the classroom with a school garden where students grow produce that they then bring into the kitchen to cook and study. In like manner, to expand their knowledge, students must have the opportunity to visit local farmers and artisans. Her philosophy is that students learn best when their learning can be connected to the real world. Christina mentors students to be lifelong learners with practical, hands-on activities that develop a deeper understanding for students that will be embedded into their daily lives and future.

Congratulations, Christina!

Read more about Christina and our other outstanding Teachers of the Year here

Teacher Resources
Ten Foods That Originally Looked Totally Different
Everyday foods, fruit and veggies used to look totally different before we started cultivating them. But did you know they haven't always looked like they currently do? Here are 10 fruits and veggies that looked very different before we started cultivating them! This ten minute video is an eye-opening look into how consumer preferences have shaped how food looks over the years.  
Hatching Science with Classroom Chicks
Students will explore how an embryo develops inside of a chicken egg over time, discuss life cycles and other natural cycles, and observe similarities and differences between parents and offspring. This lesson is done with plastic eggs and is perfect for classrooms that don't have room or resources to hatch real eggs. This lesson is available for grades K-2 and 3-5. 
Students will describe the physical properties of materials and observe physical and chemical changes as they learn about the ingredients in pancakes and how maple syrup is harvested from trees. This lesson is available for grades K-2 and 3-5

This lesson could be a great addition to the Schoolyard Sugaring Contest, if you are participating this year. 
Six Kinds Do It All
The purpose of this lesson is for students to become familiar with the six kinds of simple machines-the inclined plane, pulley, screw, wedge, lever, and wheel and axle. These machines are combined to form complex machines. This lesson is best for grade levels 3-5. 
Middle School/ High School
An Illustrated Account of the Great Maple Syrup Heist
Modern Farmer   magazine offers a number of illustrated accounts by Lucas Adams that depict interesting and important moments in agricultural history. The  Illustrated Account of the Great Maple Syrup Heist tells of the mystery surrounding the theft of $18 million dollars worth of maple syrup stolen from Saint-Louis-de-Blandford, a warehouse in Canada. Other accounts address topics such as the Pleasant Valley Sheep War, mulberry and silk production in 1830s Connecticut, the end of the open range, and dairy farming in the 1940s. These graphic novel style articles are sure to engage students from upper elementary to high school and older.    
Sheep See, Sheep Do
Students will explore the difference between inherited and acquired traits and understand why knowledge of inherited and acquired traits is important to agriculture. Activities in this lesson include trait sorting, two short movies, a PTC taste test, and student presentations. This lesson is for grades 6-8, but is also available for grades 3-5
What is Gluten? Here's How to See and Feel Gluten
What is gluten, and what does it mean to be cooking with gluten? See and feel gluten with this simple kitchen experiment.  The differences in the appearance and texture of the two doughs were a dramatic confirmation of the profound impact of gluten. Watch this 3 and a half minute video then try the experiment with your students. 
March Book Nook
The Cow in Patrick O'Shanahan's Kitchen
When Patrick wakes up for breakfast, he finds an adventure in his kitchen. As his dad cooks him breakfast, he learns where each breakfast food item is produced. The chicken lays the eggs, the cow produces the milk and the maple tree makes the syrup. This book is a great resource for teaching elementary students where their food comes from.
Zinnia and Dot
This the story of two feuding hens who lose all but one egg to a weasel that sneaks in while they're busy squabbling. Now they really have something to fight about. Whose is the egg that's left? Will friendship triumph over vanity? Use this book to engage young students before a lesson on chickens, eggs, or embryology. 

Where Did My Clothes Come From?
Did you know that the cotton for your jeans was picked from a plant? How did the colorful wool in your sweater get from a sheep's back to a ball of yarn? Where did your soccer uniform, your rain boots, and your fleece jacket come from? And what does recycling plastic bottles have to do with anything? This book will take you to visit farms, forests, and factories all over the world to find out how everything you wear has a story behind it. The fabrics covered include denim, wool, and synthetics, and suggestions on how to recycle or repurpose old clothes are also provided.
New York Agriculture in the Classroom |
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Cornell University
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