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Grundy County ISU Extension Outreach

Grundy County Community Foundation
November 21, 2017

"In 2016 the Grundy County Extension office piloted a program called “Farm Chat” in four Grundy County Schools. The program provides real-world connections to the Iowa Core and STEM educational areas. Because field trips are costly and create liability, many schools aren't able to participate. This is a way to bring the field trip to the classroom through the use of technology. By partnering with Farm Bureau on this project, we are able to utilize the Ag in the Classroom curriculum, along with staff time and community resources to extend our impact.  The Ag in the Classroom coordinator visits the classrooms with hands on activities each month. The following week Extension enters the classroom via a real-time, virtual tour of a farm in Grundy County. Extension staff travels with an iPad and wireless internet to the farm and the classrooms virtually connect with the farm through a program called Google Hangouts. Extension staff provides curriculum, in coordination with the previous weeks, for the farmer and takes a tour of the farm, all the while live streaming back to the classrooms. Students can virtually ride along in the combine or tour a livestock barn all from the safety and security of their classroom. Sessions are live and allow the kids to ask questions throughout the visit. In 2016 our program reached into four schools and 210 third graders get hands on experience with agriculture, sciences, and technology through the program.  Not only are they learning about agriculture but are also getting insight into the sciences of growing both livestock and crops, business operations, technology, math and the community they live in.  Through the Community Foundation grant we were able to purchase a new tablet with data connectivity, which allows us to enter buildings and travel to farms across the county with a strong internet connection and the ability to talk to the classrooms live!  We were also able to purchase a wireless microphone so that the farmers are able to hear the students more clearly and speak to them for easier learning.  We so appreciate the support from the Community Foundation Grant and cannot say enough positive things about the impact we feel we are able to have in Grundy County schools with this new technology!"

- Shari Sell-Bakker, ISU Extension and Outreach, Grundy County
  Recipient of a grant for their "Farm Chat" Program