Last spring, kindergarten and first grade students in
eastern Iowa had the opportunity to explore the early
phases of poultry production by participating in a
school hatching program facilitated by ISU Extension &
Outreach – Linn County and the Linn County Farm Bureau.
Grant proceeds from FCSAmerica were used to supply
participating schools with classroom materials and hatching
kits that included an automated incubator, cage, heat lamp
and cross-curricular lessons and activities.
“The students were really engaged with the lessons as they learned about the egg-to-chick life cycle and counted down to hatching day.”
– Amy Schmitt
“During the 21-day incubation period, the students were
really engaged with the lessons as they learned about the
egg-to-chick life cycle and counted down to hatching day,”
says Amy Schmitt, Linn County youth outreach educator.
“They also identified the basic needs to grow a chick by
monitoring the incubator’s temperature and humidity and
practiced proper animal care once the chicks had hatched.”
Aquaculture Expands Environmental Studies
In Letts, Iowa, a similar project is exposing members of
the Louisa-Muscatine FFA chapter to the economics and
environmental considerations of commercial fish production.
The students recently assembled and installed a 300-gallon
aquaculture tank in the school greenhouse. Adam Crews,
Louisa-Muscatine agricultural teacher and FFA adviser,
says the students have been busy preparing the unit to be
stocked with its first supply of blue tilapia.
“Our class tests and studies water quality in aquatic
environments, so it has been great to introduce a new
hands-on opportunity for the students to monitor pH,
nitrates and other water quality indicators while teaching
them about the skills needed to pursue a career in
commercial fish production,” he says. “Once the fish arrive,
they will continue managing water quality and nutrient levels
and they will also be responsible for feeding the fish and
harvesting them when they reach maturity.”
Lessons from Farm to Fork
Aquaculture-based curriculum has been making a splash
among classrooms in Nebraska, too.
As part of the Norfolk FFA Grow, Show and Know project,
students are gaining hands-on experience raising
tilapia, broiler chickens as well as hydroponic and
Students are also responsible for processing, packaging and
providing nutritional information about the products before
they are delivered to the Norfolk Rescue Mission.
“The project has been an enjoyable way for students to learn about the science behind food production.”
– Jonathon Anderson
“The project has been an enjoyable way for students to
learn about the science behind food production,” says
Jonathon Anderson, Norfolk FFA agricultural teacher
and advisor. “And the donations made to the local
mission have really opened their eyes to the realities
of homelessness and poverty.”