KENANSVILLE — From the moment you step into Rose Hill-Magnolia Elementary honeybee habitat, the Agriculture Room or the outside garden area and chicken coop, it doesn’t take long to see STEAMA in action.
Tim Mateer and Tanya Novakowski, both teachers with Rose Hill-Magnolia Elementary, spearheaded these ideas and brought them to life for their students through grant opportunities and the support of community partners.
“We have worked hard to get these ideas off the ground and it’s so amazing to see how those small ideas have grown and continue to grow,” said Novakowski, 6th grade Math and Science teacher. “Our students have taken ownership of their learning and are being true teachers themselves.”
Upon entering the Agriculture Room, visitors can see a working beehive, which allows students to get hands-on experience with live bee colonies, and learn about pollination, honey production, and about the benefits of raising bees.
In addition to beekeeping, the Agriculture Room features a plant observation area with grow lights. This area provides an opportunity for students to take plants that may not be thriving and determine what the plant needs.
Walking outside of the Agriculture Room and toward the outdoor area, students can access a working weather center. In the weather center, they use the computerized weather monitor which is connected to an outside weather station to analyze the weather for the day and share the forecast with the entire school.
Stepping outdoors, students will continue to see agriculture in action, by observing outdoor education areas, beehives, flowers in bloom, a working garden containing vegetables and blueberry bushes, a weather station, grapevines and a very active chicken coop. It’s so easy to see the excitement of the students as they walk through the gardens, talking about bees and feeding chickens.
According to Novakowski students had the opportunity to hatch their own chicks and are now raising layer hens and looking forward to gathering eggs in the fall.
“Our students are so excited to help feed, water and play with the chickens,” said Novakowski. “When we are able to, the local poultry business will begin sending in poultry experts.”
Students will have the opportunity to meet various people that work in the poultry business who will share about potential opportunities available.
“Our students are excited about coming to school and they have learned so much about agriculture and how it connects to their lives,” said Tim Mateer, Middle School STEM teacher. “It’s all about finding out what our students already know and having them share that knowledge with each other and experience it together.”
“These teachers have worked so hard to provide these real world experiences for their students and through their continued work, our students will continue to benefit tremendously, said Superintendent, Dr. Austin Obasohan. “It truly is a wonderful STEAMA experience for the students at Rose Hill-Magnolia as they share their passion for learning and work to cultivate, maintain and sustain a small piece of the agriculture world located right outside their classroom walls. Through these efforts our students are making powerful STEAMA connections to the curriculum and their community through this amazing real world opportunity.”
Editor’s Note: This story was contributed by Duplin County Public Schools.