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April 15, 2014

Students get a taste for science

It’s hands-on learning at its finest: students getting a chance to put their hands in the soil, watch plants grow, and take a field trip to the global headquarters of a company that’s a world leader in crop protection and biotechnology products.

For the ninth straight year, students in the Metropolitan School District of Wayne Township have taken part in a learning opportunity called the Seed Festival. The project, hosted by Indianapolis-based Dow AgroSciences, focuses on the life cycle of a plant called Brassica rapa, with seeds containing canola oil that can be used to make healthier oils and in the production of bio fuels.

The project began for fourth-graders earlier this school year, when they began growing Brassica rapa plants in their classrooms. This process allowed students to follow the life cycle of plants from seed back to seed.

Rick Crosslin, lead science teacher for the district, oversaw the project. He provided professional development opportunities to the teachers involved, and visited each classroom to check on the plants’ growth and development.

“Most observers see students growing and taking care of plants as the goal of the Seed Festival,” Crosslin said in a press release. “I also see students cultivating and growing hands-on science experience.”

Each of the fourth-grade classrooms taking part in the project chose a science ambassador to take a field trip to Dow AgroSciences to present their class results from the growing project. During their visit to Dow AgroSciences, the students conducted a poster session modeled on actual science conferences. They also participated in two interactive science programs provided by Dow AgroSciences Science Ambassadors, a group of more than 250 employees who volunteer their time to inspire young people to pursue education and careers in science-related fields.

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