Summer Graduate Course:

Growing Agriculture in Your Classroom

Beginning workshop: Tuesday, July 1, 2014
Ending workshop: Thursday, August 7, 2014
Time: 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
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Our popular 3 Credit Summer Graduate Course for educators returns for an eight year in the summer of 2014. Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom, collaborating with Fitchburg State College, will offer this three-credit graduate course, titled "Growing Agriculture in the Classroom," using Massachusetts farms as classrooms. Teachers will participate in agricultural-literacy training through fun, hands-on study and investigation of agriculture education resources. It will help enhance curriculum and assist with connections to the curriculum standard.

The course will meet on Tuesday, July 1st and Thursday August 7 at the Brigham Hill Community Farm in North Grafton from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Each participant must attend both sessions and also participate in six additional workshops during the summer, selected from approximately twelve workshops on a variety of topics in locations across the state.

Participants will keep a journal of their agricultural journey and developing a classroom project, which they will present to their peers on August 7. Farm workshops may cover topics such as nutrition; plant science; soils; water; economics; technology; ag-history; farm animals; energy, sustainable agriculture and more.

This course will assist new educators and those who want to expand their offerings to integrate agriculture into the classroom. Participants will learn how to create community partnerships; link the classroom to the farm; expand math, science, social studies, art, nutrition and other educational knowledge using agricultural examples, and explore technology and engineering techniques.

The fee for this eight-day course is $500 and includes all materials; farm workshops; some meals and three graduate credits or 67 professional development points from Fitchburg State College. Participants will be paired with a MAC board member to give long-term access to agricultural resources and support.


Schedule of Summer Workshops

Tuesday, July 8:

Technology on a Dairy Farm with STEM Connections for the Classroom – Barstow’s Dairy Farm in Hadley

Increase your knowledge of dairy cows and the economics of dairy farming. We will introduce teachers to innovative dairy lessons available on the MAC website and learn about classroom composting opportunities. Our day will include an opportunity to see how an anaerobic digester works and why this is becoming so popular in Massachusetts . Instructors will demonstrate ways to correlate this information with STEM education in the classroom.

Thursday, July 10 Fibers, Felting, and Fun – Jensen Homestead, Worthington and Phantom Farm, Worthington

Learn fiber basics: using various natural fibers to produce yarns; carding; spinning and drop-spinning; using natural dyes; felting. We may even harvest some of the fiber ourselves! Enjoy practical, hands-on experiences that can be applied in the classroom.

Tuesday, July 15 Success on the Farm and in the Classroom – Smolak Farms in North Andover

Smolak Farms is 300 years old and covers 155 acres. This farm has many activities and festivals to offer the public beyond the fruits and vegetables it grows. We will learn about the varied ways the farm has changed through the years and generations of family managers. How does one farm continue for years while others fade into disuse? What does it take to make a farm successful in today’s market? How can this relate to your classroom?

Thursday, July 17 Preserving the History and Restoring a Family Farm and Apiary – Akin Bak Farm, Franklin

We will tour this small farm and look back through several generations of the same family who have worked this land, now in a suburban setting. Does the newest generation need to make changes? What has made this farm survive as the land around them is commercially developed? There may be some comparison of historical farming methods with more modern procedures and many years of beekeeping will be shared with the teachers as we observe hives and pollinators. Pollinator activities for the classroom will be provided.

Tuesday, July 22 Managing Forests and Maple Sugar Production on a Family Farm – The Mossman Homestead, Westminster

In the morning we will learn about the responsibility that comes with a historical family farm property: how to manage the farm in a way that preserves its authenticity yet moves it into the future. Proper woodland management helps to preserve the forest for the future while conserving the health and resources of the unique woodland, and maple sugar production is an added bonus. Science lessons relating to trees will be shared, along with some resources from the MAC website. In the afternoon, we will view the nearby school gardens and learn how lessons from the garden can have STEM connections.

Thursday, July 24 Animals, Minerals, & Vegetables – Heifer Farm, Rutland

The morning will be spent briefly learning about the history and philosophy of Heifer International’s mission, then meeting Donna Kilpatrick, livestock manager at the farm. Donna will demonstrate how raising animals and caring for them can be related to classroom activities. Our afternoon tour of the vegetable gardens with an emphasis on new garden bed preparation methods will enable us to view the variety of foods grown at Heifer and inspire us for our own school gardens!

Tuesday, July 29

The Benefits of Agriculture Education – Norfolk Agricultural School, Walpole


Come take the opportunity to tour the brand new facilities as this school goes through a major expansion. See the benefits of an educational experience at an agricultural high school and the many majors that are offered to students. Learn why this may be the perfect choice for some of your students. Our instructors will provide appropriate lessons that can be taken back to your own classroom.

Thursday, July 31 Farming Opportunities for Individuals with Disabilities – CapeAbilities, Marston Mills & Dennis

The mission of Cape Abilities is to serve individuals with disabilities, so as to empower them to achieve meaningful and valued roles in society. We will learn how this innovative program provides employment to many adults with disabilities while growing some of the best vegetables on Cape Cod! Some questions will be answered for us: Can you grow tomatoes without soil? What’s it like to harvest sea salt? Do methods need to be modified to provide for individual learning styles? We will begin our day at the gardens in Marston Mills where plant propagation takes place, then move to the greenhouses and retail vegetable stand in Dennis. Teachers will receive lessons that can bring some of this greenhouse technology into your classroom.

Tuesday, August 5 MAC Summer Conference Connecting the Classroom to the School Garden at Algonquin Regional High School in Northborough read more


Using Massachusetts Farms as your classroom, learn how agriculture can enhance your curriculum, enthrall your students and make connections to the Curriculum Standards. Workshops offer hands-on, open-ended experiences, activities and resources related to a variety of agricultural topics. Participants will:

Sponsored by:

Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom & Fitchburg State College