Grow Rural Education grants have helped schools purchase an array of STEM-related materials, such as augmented-reality sandboxes, weather-forecasting and robotics equipment. North Star Middle School will use the Grow Rural Education funds to create “The Solar Lab” which is designed to be an outdoor classroom in the form of a 20-foot x 48-foot greenhouse.
Through a solar panel array and the natural design of a greenhouse, the sun will provide The Solar Lab with efficient and sustainable energy to power an outdoor learning environment.
The district’s goal of The Solar Lab is to provide students the opportunity to incorporate STEM learning and bring cross-curriculum studies to life through hands-on learning.
As a result of a more authentic learning environment, students will gain a deeper understanding of agriculture and nursery practices.
Another intended long-term goal of this project is to provide service opportunities by giving back to the community.
Flowers and assorted produce will be grown with the community in mind. By developing 21st Century skills in The Solar Lab, the students will emerge as productive and compassionate citizens ready to embrace and enjoy the “fruits” of their labor.
In early 2020, Bayer Fund’s America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education partnered with local farmers to nominate rural public school districts and award grants to enhance their science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) curriculum.
Because area farmers answered the call, through Grow Rural Education, Bayer Fund awarded a $15,000 grant to North Star Middle School.