The Science Education Partnership (SEP), formed in 1992, consists of the Lambton Kent District School Board, the St. Clair Catholic District School Board, local businesses, industries, and community partners. Lambton Kent Agriculture in the Classroom (LKAITC) has been an active partner since 2002.
The SEP was formed for the purpose of expanding and supporting a quality “Hands-on, Minds-on” science program for students from Kindergarten to Grade 8.
The Lambton Kent Agriculture in the Classroom Committee is a valued supporter of the SEP Science Kit Program. This program provides educators with hands-on science materials and equipment in the form of education kits. Units contain consumables, science equipment, posters, print materials for students, teacher reference books, and activity guides, all of which allow students to “do” science in a “hands-on” manner. SEP kits support the grade level expectations as described in the “Ontario Curriculum, Grade 1-8, Science and Technology (Revised 2007)”.
LKAITC funds have been used to develop and/or enhance kits that have agriculture related content, such as Gr. 2 Farm Animals, Gr. 3 Plants, Gr. 3 Soil, Gr. 7 Ecosystems, and the series of Kindergarten kits on “Growing Things”. These units are comprised of substantial consumable content which must be replaced after each use. The annual donation from the LKAITC helps cover these costs.
SEP kits are very popular with teachers, as demonstrated by kit booking statistics. During the 2014-2015 school year, the Gr. 2 Farm Animals kit was used in 29 classrooms, Gr. 3 Plant kit in 47, Gr.3 Soil kit in 53, and the Gr. 7 Ecosystems kit on 22 occasions. The group of kindergarten kits, “Growing Things”, were booked by a combined total of 70 classes.
The Adopt-a-Farmer Program connects farmers with elementary classrooms. Who better to talk to students about how food gets from the farm to the table than those who actually produce it? Volunteering farmers use various methods to share their knowledge with students. They can physically visit the classroom, connect via video calls that bring the farm to the classroom without biosecurity concerns, or use social media outlets. Farmers discuss curriculum-connected topics including: farm animal care, growing crops, sustainability on the farm, soil preservation, and farm to table.
Collaboration with the LKAITC also allows the SEP to link educators with additional agriculture related programs and materials. Information and activities from various commodity groups and other sources, such as OAFE, have been added to science kits. Agricultural programs for elementary students are advertised on the SEP website, (http://www.lkdsb.net/program/sepweb) to increase awareness and help teachers access additional science programs in the community.
The SEP has been offering “Hands-on, Minds-on” science resources for local educators for over 20 years. Partners such as the LKAITC have been integral to our on-going success.
Key Contact Person: Wendy Hooghiem, Science Centre - Errol Road School, Sarnia, ON
Phone - 519-336-1500, ext. 31580
(Photo above center demonstrates the Adopt-a-Farmer program in action with Farmer Judy speaking via Skype to students in the classroom. Photo on the right was taken at a recent LKAITC Annual General Meeting and shows LKAITC President, Judy Krall (L) and Treasurer, Kyla Reid (R) presenting a support cheque to Wendy Hooghiem, Coordinator of SEP.)
**Special Thanks to Libro Credit Union for their generous donation from the Libro Prosperity Fund in September 2016!