New museum program brings the farm right into the classroom

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Ingenium - Canada's Museums of Science and Innovation
AgVenture, a new mobile education program, brings small farm animals into the classroom.

It’s hard to tune out a science lesson when there’s a chicken on your desk.

Thanks to a new mobile education program from the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum, teachers in the Ottawa area can bring a bit of farm life — and a lot of excitement — right into the classroom.

“AgVenture makes learning fun for students, while simplifying life for teachers,” says Lindsay Stewart, an educational assistant at the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum. “A lot of teachers commented that it was so much easier than having to bundle kids up in the winter and book a bus to go to the museum.”

Launched in 2018, AgVenture offers three program options for students from preschool to Grade 4, including Buddy Rabbit, Henrietta Hen, and From Sheep to Sweater. Each program is 40 minutes long, and focuses on a different animal. Buddy Rabbit includes a visit from a rabbit, while Henrietta Hen sees a chicken visit the classroom. The children have an opportunity to pet the animals after the lesson.

This year, AgVenture has added Soil Science — a one-hour program aimed at Grade 9 to Grade 11 students. All AgVenture programs have direct links to Ontario and Quebec curriculum.

“Soil Science prompts students to answer questions while performing some unusual experiments,” explains Stewart. “We examine questions such as, ‘What is soil made of? What’s a nutrient? Is soil essential to plant life, or can plants live without it?’”

In its inaugural year of 2018 to 2019, AgVenture reached a total of 16 schools, 48 classrooms, and 1,060 students.

“We were thrilled to get such positive feedback on our first year of the program,” says Stewart. “In fact, 100 percent of teachers told us they would recommend AgVenture to other educators.”

AgVenture was also presented to a special education class, where students learned about animal care and the importance of being gentle with the animals.

The program is now accepting bookings for the 2019-2020 school year. For full details, visit Ingenium’s Educational Programs.

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Sonia Mendes

Sonia Mendes is the English Writer/Editor for Ingenium. She loves digging behind the scenes to tell the quirky, colourful stories of museum life and all things related to science and innovation.