• Gentry Middle School, Self-Sufficient Living with Science
    An Enhanced Learning Mini-Grant Project
    Kathy Brintle, Teacher

  • J. Sam Gentry Middle School Presents: "Self-Sufficient Living with Science"

    "Self-Sufficient Living with Science" has become part of the science curriculum for students at J. Sam Gentry Middle School.  The project is a 2017 Enhanced Learning Mini-Grant award winner led by GenYES teacher Kathy Brintle.  The middle school students are learning about plant science, sustainable living, and careers in the agricultural industry as they work with bucket, raised bed, and container gardens.  “This project allows students to learn about seeds, plant growth, propagation, and plant classification, as well as the health advantages of growing their own food,” says Brintle.

    Students are also building raised beds with cold frame attachments for sowing seeds and observing the growth of various plants, as well as the effects of soil, temperature, and water on germination and plant growth.

    Using Project Based Learning to provide a real-world setting for developing and practicing healthy living skills and sustainable living practices, this project aligns with and prepares students for high school college and career classes and internships.  Students  demonstrate their learning and skills through hands-on work instead of test scores.  The project connects the students to local and global industry.

    After completion of the project, students will create digital portfolios which will include spreadsheets with accumulated and analyzed data, a document journal containing entries and sketches for each observation or workday, a computer designed family garden or sustainable community, and a written rationale for their gardens.  The digital portfolio will demonstrate the students’ understanding of plants and the plant cycle, ecosystems, climate, and weather by using correct terminology and specific measurements.  Structural elements of the school garden will be evaluated based upon completion of the project.

    “We have bucket gardens with a variety of lettuces and larger plants like collards, cabbages, broccoli, cauliflower, and curly kale.  All of these are plants students may or may not already know about and eat,” said Kathy Brintle.  “Students are also getting into the agricultural debate about treating crop fields with pesticides and herbicides and the affects of GMOs on the fields.” 

    “This grant helps attract students to the agriculture industries that are present and working in our lives every day,” Brintle said.

    "The gardens we made for Ag were very fun.  I loved getting to go outside." -Kaylynn H. 6th grade
    "It's a great opportunity for the rising freshmen-gets me ready and excited for FFA at North Surry!" -Savannah S., 8th grade