Aug. 16 2021
A teacher educates her students’ life skills through science programs, a community garden and local markets.
Last month, Glasgow Middle School’s seventh- and eighth-grade life science class participated in LSU AgCenter’s summer enrichment program.
The LSU AgCenter created the enrichment program in 2019 for selected fourth and eighth graders. The initiative taught the students about embryology, which deals with the development of embryos and fetuses. The program trained teachers over the summer and gave them materials to teach the unit in their classroom.
Family and consumer science teacher Jennifer Bravata brought the initiative to her students in July, where she taught the students to fertilize a dozen chicken eggs and three duck eggs.
Bravata said her students learned the process of food, as well as about evolution.
“My students were able to learn about sustainability,” she said. “Specifically, during times of national crisis when the grocery stores might be empty of produce, meat or milk products, there is still a way to obtain those things.”
The Glasgow students learned how alligators and chickens are related and realized that all species are related.
“Every species begins developing the same way, and many students did not realize that,” Bravata said. “The lesson at the LSU AgCenter taught students that even though things such as alligators and chickens appear different, they are quite similar, and that applies to all types of species.”
The science teacher hopes to continue to teach her students more life skills in her family and consumer science class.
“I like to teach several different things to my students because I think it will be beneficial to all students, no matter what path they choose beyond high school,” she said.
At the end of last school year, Bravata’s eighth graders had a small garden on campus. They grew eggplant, bell peppers, jalapeños, basil and mint. This year, she intends to create a garden, harvest vegetables and herbs, and then use those items for cooking projects. She has started the 2021-2022 school year with her students picking fresh basil from the garden.
“My students were able to smell and touch the basil,” she said. “We also discussed what recipes include basil as well as what type of a food product basil is. I want my students to understand the importance of the farm-to-table concept.”
Bravata hopes to teach her students about other food products such as dairy and produce and learn about embryology. In addition, the science teacher believes that students can learn math, reading, cooking, sewing, and even taking care of baby chickens.
“Students are taught many things in school. However, life skills and social skills are just as essential to learning,” she said.
Bravata encourages her students to learn about Louisiana agriculture by visiting local shops, farmers markets, or local farms.
“Louisiana has so many agricultural and natural resources that people need to take advantage of them,” Bravata said. “Whether it is fresh seafood, strawberries, lumber or cattle, Louisiana offers something to everyone. So I always make sure that my students know those opportunities to experience what our great state provides.”
Students can learn about Louisiana agriculture and life science by visiting the LSU AgCenter website at www.lsuagcenter.com.
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