The Pennsylvania Departments of Agriculture and Education announced opportunities for agriculture and STEM learning for all ages to be featured in the 2021 Farm Show. Several opportunities will help K-12 students and teachers meet Pennsylvania academic requirements for environment and ecology, or family and consumer sciences.
“Every year, the PA Farm Show offers learning experiences and exposure to a growing field with real world, rewarding opportunities,” said Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. “Wherever you are on your career path – whether you’re looking for hands-on learning, career inspiration, or you just want to know more about your food and the challenges facing those who produce it – the 2021 virtual Farm Show will offer opportunities to learn and engage with agriculture and the science, technology and engineering driving it.”
The schedule of daily events includes a live Career Exploration panel discussion geared toward high school students and featuring a variety of experts in fields, including a large animal veterinarian, a farm manager, a chef, a hydroponic specialist, horticulturist, and a service technician for computerized farm equipment.
“There are a wide range of career options in STEM fields across Pennsylvania, and agriculture offers an avenue to many of those 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 will also serve as an opportunity to gain a new or restored appreciation for the many ways our agricultural industry benefits the commonwealth.”
Virtual hands-on activities will include Plants to the Rescue and Plant Hunt, digital lessons for grades 6-8 provided by Seed Your Future career initiative, in partnership with Scholastic, Inc., including lessons titled Water Filtration, Grow Plants from Food Scraps, Tie Dye with Plants, DIY Home Hydroponics, and Phototropism: Light Maze.
Throughout the show, elementary and early secondary students can become Ag Explorers by visiting virtual stations at farmshow.pa.gov to learn about raising goats, sheep, rabbits, dairy, pork and beef; organic agriculture, the environment, hardwoods, bees and honey, apple production, maple syrup, mushrooms, 4-H, plastic recycling, dog licensing and Christmas trees. Students visit each station, then take a quiz, which they can submit to enter a drawing for a Farm Show prize package.
Daily STEM demonstrations of at-home activities for K-12 students will include lessons on how to make butter, plant-based plastics made from hemp and other sustainable materials and more.
A teachers’ guide will be distributed to teachers statewide through the Department of Education’s PennLinks system, including links to the virtual Ag Explorer stations and other resources along with the curriculum standards each resource will meet.
For older students and adult learners, each day will include live webinars on business, technological, scientific and environmental challenges facing the industry, led by influential policy makers and experts in each topic. Topics will include solar energy, food security, pest control, emerging markets, sustainability, biosecurity and more.
The 105th Pennsylvania Farm Show will take place Jan. 9-16. In light of the current public health crisis and to protect public health and safety, Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry will be celebrated virtually. The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture will bring stories of agriculture into your home and explore along with the industry how to cultivate a brighter tomorrow for Pennsylvania’s leading industry.
A variety of pre-recorded and live virtual events will be featured on social media (Facebook and Instagram) and through the Pennsylvania Cable Network, as well as more than 200 virtual education exhibits available 24/7 at farmshow.pa.gov, beginning Saturday, Jan. 9.