Golden Apple: Laporte Teacher Wins State Award For Using Agriculture In Class
A science teacher from Laporte School has been recognized by the state of Minnesota for incorporating agriculture in her classroom.
“It’s a little more work, but I think it valuable for kids. Just seeing them, watching those kindergartners out there picking produce is so fun!” says teacher Amy Mastin with a smile.
Mastin was honored with the Minnesota Ag In The Classroom Outstanding Educator Award for 2018.
“[It’s] an award that goes to a Minnesota teacher has shown use of agriculture in their curriculum in the state of Minnesota,” explains Mastin.
Mastin helped start the growing program at Laporte School. She incorporates agriculture in her everyday lessons in fun ways that the kids connect to.
“In earth science, we talk about soils a lot and we look at how soil and soil erosion affects farms and agriculture and how we choose to farm. Then we look at life science and we talk about genetics. I just had a lady come in and talk about the genetics of her cattle,” says Mastin, “With the 5th grade class, we do a lot of growing. So we have grow labs in our classrooms and we are about to start our seeds for our community garden. That’s all a part of the curriculum. I blend it all in so that they learn how to grow it, they learn how to transplant it. They put it in the garden. They watch it grow and take care of it and then they’ll get to eat it in the fall and then we compost as well.”
Mastin adds about her techniques, “I think having hands on activities and really connecting it the world around them help them remember those concepts.”
As a part of the award, Mastin will get to go to an agriculture conference in Portland, MN. She’ll also attend two farm tours in Minnesota where she’ll speak about how she incorporates agriculture in the classroom. She has big things planned for the next few years.
“I’m looking at a five-year-plan here. I’m looking at an FFA group to start using some of the stuff. I’m looking at potentially a greenhouse. I’m hoping for funding and then building classes around a greenhouse production,” says Mastin.
She also adds that the agriculture in the classroom isn’t just her – it’s a group effort from everyone at Laporte School.
“It’s not a one person job to do all of this. This is something that the entire staff does and we have awesome staff,” says Mastin.
Mastin also received $500 to put towards her program. She says she’s going to use it to build an aquaponics system in the Laporte Middle School science lab.