The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and Department of Education are offering virtual agriculture and STEM learning opportunities for all ages at the 2021 Farm Show, which runs January 9-16. Some of these opportunities also allow students and teachers from Kindergarten to Grade 12. to meet Pennsylvania academic requirements for the environment and ecology or family and consumer sciences.
The 105th Pennsylvania Farm Show is being celebrated virtually this year in light of the COVID-19 public health crisis. The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture plans to bring farming stories to homes across the state and explore how to cultivate a better future for Pennsylvania’s primary industry.
“Each year the PA Farm Show provides learning experiences and exposure to a growing field with real and rewarding opportunities,” Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said in a press release. “Wherever you are in your career path – whether you’re looking for hands-on learning, career inspiration, or just want to learn more about your food and the challenges facing those who produce it – the Virtual Farm Show 2021 will provide opportunities to learn and engage with agriculture and the science, technology and engineering that drive it.
The Daily Events program includes a live career exploration roundtable for high school students. This event features experts in various fields, including a veterinarian specializing in large animals, a farm manager, a chef, a hydroponics specialist, a horticulturalist and a service technician for computerized farm equipment.
“There is a wide range of career options in STEM fields across Pennsylvania, and agriculture provides a pathway for many of these opportunities,” said Acting Education Secretary Noe Ortega. “The virtual panels and interactive sessions will provide a variety of educational experiences for learners of all ages – and also serve as an opportunity to gain a new or restored appreciation of the many ways our agricultural industry benefits the Commonwealth.”
Virtual hands-on activities also include digital plant lessons for grades 6-8 provided by the Seed Your Future career initiative in partnership with Scholastic Inc. These activities include lessons on water filtration. , growing plants from food scraps, dyeing with plants, hydroponics and phototropism.
Elementary and early secondary students can become agricultural explorers by visiting virtual stations on the Farm Show website, farmshow.pa.gov, to learn more about raising goats, sheep, rabbits, dairy, pork and beef, organic farming, environment, hardwoods, bees and honey, apple production, maple syrup and mushroom, 4-H, plastic recycling, dog license and Christmas trees. Students visit each station, then take a quiz, which they can submit to enter a draw for a Farm Show prize package.
Daily demonstrations of STEM home activities for K-12 students are to include lessons on making butter, plant-based plastics from hemp and other sustainable materials, and more.
A teacher’s guide is distributed to teachers statewide through the Department of Education’s PennLinks system, including links to Ag Explorer virtual stations and other resources as well as program standards that each resource will meet. .
For older students and adult learners, each day includes live webinars on business and the technological, scientific and environmental challenges facing the industry, led by influential policy makers and experts in each topic. Topics available include solar energy, food security, pest management, emerging markets, sustainability, biosecurity and more.
Commonwealth residents are invited to experience all that Pennsylvania agriculture has to offer through a variety of pre-recorded and live virtual events presented on social media and via the Pennsylvania cable network, as well as over 200 exhibits. virtual educational programs available 24/7. at farmshow.pa.gov starting January 9. A full schedule of events is available on the website, and real-time updates are expected to be posted on the Pennsylvania Farm Show pages on Facebook and Instagram.