What is STEM?
STEM stands for an idea of educating students in four specific disciplines — Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. It is an applied, blended and cohesive approach that encourages a hands-on experience while allowing students a chance to gain and apply relevant “real world” knowledge in the classroom.
STEM has become a critical component to nation-wide Academic Standards. Together with The Produce Moms and a middle school science teacher, we developed two STEM projects for middle school students using grapes. Because why not combine a science experiment with one of the most popular fruits?
The best part about our two grape STEM experiments…you can download them and print them off for FREE.
Grapes for STEM Projects
Grape Smash. Our Grape Smash STEM Project is designed for students to practice classification along with learning about the Law of Conservation of Mass.
Download the free HMC Farms Grape Smash STEM Activity Sheet
Dancing Grapes. Our Dancing Grapes STEM project focuses on using the POE (Predict-Observe-Explain) strategy. Predicting, Observing and Explaining incorporates the fundamental processes associated with all discovery learning. This project allows students to use all 5 senses and allows them to communicate and demonstrate their understandings through written and visual explanations.
Download the free HMC Farms Dancing Grapes STEM Activity Sheet
To learn more about The Produce Moms, visit their website.
Western Growers (a non-profit organization that represents local and regional family farmers growing fresh produce in Arizona, California, Colorado and New Mexico) is collaborating with Fresno State University and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo to create the Careers In Ag program. This program introduces students, who are mostly made up of STEM-related majors (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), to the wide variety of potential careers in agriculture. On a tour of businesses in the Central Valley, the Careers in Ag group visited HMC Farms to cover the topics of farm management, sustainability, plant science, and innovation. Several members of the McClarty family met with the students, discussing their different areas of responsibility and how farming, ag technology, accounting, and sales all fit together to make HMC Farms a successful ag business with a very diverse set of career opportunities within one organization. In addition to open dialogue about different departments and career options at HMC Farms, Harold McClarty discussed the issues faced by California farmers, and the future of ag in the Central Valley with the students.
After the discussion held at the HMC Farms main office, the students headed out to the farms. Drew Ketelsen, Farm Manager and head of our technology projects, introduced the Careers in Ag students to different innovative techniques and technologies we have put in place to become more efficient. He discussed his background in civil engineering, and how that skillset has translated into farm management to transform our planting and irrigation methods. Students observed the difference between an orchard planted in the traditional method and one set up using a high density close-planting method. This new method of planting will ultimately make multiple farming activities, such as pruning and harvesting, more efficient using new ag technologies.
We are thankful to Western Growers for giving HMC Farms the opportunity to show STEM students how they can fit into the world of agriculture, and to hear their questions and concerns about careers in ag. We may have just met the future leaders of industry!
To learn more about the Western Growers Careers in Ag program, read this article.