Lone Oaks Farm provides STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) education programs that both support the learning objectives of K-12 educators and address key challenges in agriculture.
The foundation of our approach is providing K-12 education programs that use agriculture and natural resources as a means to reinforce STEM concepts through school-organized field trips. While STEM education centers and programs are commonplace, our approach is powerfully unique.
- are led by talented educators,
- are tailored to meet classroom teachers’ learning objectives,
- leverage the power of hands-on experiences to create memorable moments of learning, and
- encourage students’ exploration of the world around them.
In combination these strategies create a model of STEM education that is currently like no other, but that we believe can easily be replicated at other locations and facilities.
Led By Talented Educators
Inspire curiosity through dynamic, interactive and shared learning experiences, led by talented and experienced educators.
We inspire students to be more curious about the world around them through programs that are led by great teachers. If asked about their most important experiences in school, most people will tell stories about teachers that inspired them, believed in them, and helped them learn in fun and exciting ways. We believe there is no substitute for good teaching; excellent educators influence children in powerful ways that can’t be replicated by displays, videos, or readings. Our programs are led by individuals that have expertise both in education and in agriculture.
WHAT THE SCIENCE SAYS
Curiosity has long been recognized as a strong indicator of motivation and learning (Harter, 1981; Stipek, 1998). The pedagogical practice that is the foundation of the Lone Oaks Model, Anchoring Phenomenon Routine (APR), is rooted in inspiring curiosity in learners and facilitating the deliberate sensemaking that reflects science and engineering practices (Edelson, 2001; Kanter, 2010). By allowing students to freedom to explore the world around them, they are using scientific practices, rather than going through the motions of “school science,” to identify the questions and co-create the inquiry (Berland et al., 2016; Ford, 2008; Manz, 2012).
Tailored to Meet Classroom Teachers’ Learning Objectives
Partner with educators across a diversity of public, private, and home schools to connect concepts taught in the classroom to real life, though hands-on experiences in agriculture and natural resources.
We partner with and support teachers by providing their students with hands-on experiences that help them better understand how the concepts taught in the classroom matter in real life. Most schools and their teachers have well-established and/or required STEM curriculum for use in the classroom and in which students are expected to be proficient.
We do not seek to add or change those curricula. Instead, we create out-of-classroom experiences that complement the curriculum being taught in the classroom and help students understand how and what they learn in school is important to solve real life problems. For many reasons, agriculture and natural resources happen to be a great avenue to provide these experiences.
WHAT THE SCIENCE SAYS
Meaningful partnership with educational entities are bilateral in nature thus create a coherent and articulated science education experience for students and the adoption of a mutual learning model for the engaged partners (Dolan, E., & Tanner, K., 2005). Such partnerships can lead to conceptually rich and compelling science learning programs that create more equity and access for children, and teachers of children, from high-poverty communities (Bevan et al., 2010). Incorporating agriculture and natural resources into STEM instruction promotes systems thinking and transdisciplinary learning while engaging students in problem solving related to the grand challenges of food security, bioenergy, sustainability, and climate change (Barnosky, Ehrlich, & Hadly, 2016; Francis et al., 2011; Schneider & Rist, 2014; Scott, Kurian & Wescoat, 2015; Wang, H. H., & Knobloch, N. A., 2018; Warburton, 2003;)
Leverage the Power of Hands-on Experiences to Create Memorable Moments of Learning
Create powerful moments that engage learners’ hearts, minds, and senses.
We create powerful moments where kids experience things in the real world; students often find these experiences far more interesting and engaging than classroom lessons. Reading or watching a video about livestock or poultry, for example, probably won’t have a significant impact on a child – it’s simply one more thing among a sea of information he/she tries to absorb in school every day. But bringing children to a farm, for example, where they can see, touch, hear, smell and feed hens and roosters, and then taste eggs they gathered from the hens, leave impressions they will think about and remember for a long time.
WHAT THE SCIENCE SAYS
Dumont et al (2012) identifies emotion as a primary gatekeeper to learning, which is supported by a robust field of research that demonstrates the impact of emotion on attention and memory, two important cognitive components of learning (Immordino‐Yang & Damasio, 2007). As learners engage with their senses, they create powerful affective experience that can trigger the automatic allocation of additional processing resources to storage in long‐term memory (Bradley, Greenwald, Petry, & Lang, 1992; A. Lang, 2000), thus leading to deeper learning. Advances in cognitive science have demonstrated that Multisensory Instruction, engaging two or more senses while learning new content, significantly enhances students’ abilities to learn and make meaning (Seitz, A. R. et al, 2006; Von Kriegstein, K. & Giraud, A. L., 2006). In fact, the research shows that multisensory instruction triggers optimal operation of the brain’s learning mechanisms (Shams, L., & Seitz, A. R., 2008). Despite this growing body of evidence, however, the overwhelming majority of classroom instruction engages only sight and sound.
Encourage Students’ Exploration of the World Around Them
Engage students by framing issues in ways that have personal meaning to them and encourages them to develop authentic values about agriculture and natural resources.
We engage students in a conversation about the things that are important to them and about the world they want to live in. It is not enough to just tell students about the importance of agriculture, about how and why we produce food, and about the role of science in agriculture; we look to the child’s own curiosity and sense of inquiry to create their own unique positive experiences. Such experiences will have meaning for a child that can influence and add richness to their values and core beliefs. Allowing children to explore the things important to them and think about the challenges of their generation can lead to transformative changes in how they view food and agriculture.
WHAT THE SCIENCE SAYS
Recognizing a personally meaningful connection to content is defined in research as relevance (Priniski et al., 2018). Facilitating students’ awareness of relevance helps build neural networks and long-term memory storage. In other words, connecting what they are learning to something students care about triggers their cognitive need to make sense of the world (Wilson and Sperber, 2004; Walkington & Bernacki, 2014) and can lead to a self-transcendent purpose for learning, or learning that is motivated by the desire to both benefit oneself and have a positive impact on the world (Yeager & Bundick, 2009; Yeager et al., 2014).