Syllabus: Fundamentals of Agriculture Systems

  • AG Syllabus 2021

    Welcome to Montford Middle School, and to our Fundamentals of Agriculture Systems course for 6th graders,

    “Integrated AgriCulture”.

    Objective: this yearlong elective course introduces students to a variety of subjects that we collectively call “AgriCulture”.  AgriCulture will cover many topics in agriscience including careers in agriculture (farming, animal sciences, food sciences, and natural resources) and the fundamentals of nutrition, health, marketing, research, and consumer education.  Our students will participate in vegetable gardening, poultry farming, orchard management, fabric and culinary arts, personal body care, health, and nutrition, and construction projects.  Students will:

    • Work toward earning an Industry Certificate in Agriculture Systems.
    • Learn how to take better care of themselves and the planet through sustainable gardening, animal husbandry, culinary arts, construction basics, personal care products, and handmade crafts such as canning and sewing.
    • Research what plants and animals need in order to grow and become healthful foods.
    • Plan, design, build, and maintain the class gardens, pathways, and enclosures.
    • Process, store, and prepare recipes using garden and orchard harvests.
    • Market their own produce and other products to teachers and families and keep a ledger of costs and proceeds in order to raise money for additional materials.
    • Utilize local knowledge and the web to learn about ethnobotany, best management practices, and food and product safety in everyday products like sodas, fertilizers, and sunscreens.
    • Get outside in all kinds of weather to dig, draw, measure, haul stuff around the schoolyard, and build, plant, weed, harvest, and maintain the gardens.
    • Learn to identify native, invasive, and edible wild plants, and ID garden pests vs. protectors.
    • Create safe and inviting spaces for welcome wild things.
    • Enjoy the fun and empowerment of being both a seeker and a maker!

    Students SHOULD take this class if they:

    • Like to collaborate in teams to contribute to a positive, cooperative learning environment.
    • Enjoy getting dirty in the garden and working physically hard.
    • Can be counted on to work safely and independently while waiting their “turn at the wheel”.

    Students should NOT take this class if they:

    • Can’t stand getting their shoes, hands, or clothes dirty, or dislike sitting on the bare ground.
    • Hate being around insects, sweat, pollen, and covering a lot of territory on foot.
    • Do not like to clean, organize, carry, and keep careful inventory.

    Special Safety Concerns: BEES, WASPS, ANTS, POLLEN, MOLD, EGGS, NUTS, GLUTEN, LATEX… please email me directly with health concerns about allergies, so we can consider carefully the safety of your child in a classroom environment with many of these triggers unavoidably present. 

    Required Materials: by the end of the 2nd week of class, all AG students must provide:

    • lined composition book (NO SPIRALS!).
      • This “LogBook” will be used to record daily TaskLists, design projects, take notes, and record garden observations.
      • LogBooks remain in students' backpacks for open note LogBook and pop quizzes that count as assessment grades. 
    • A pencil, everyday๐Ÿ˜Š
    • A small sewing kit with scissors, sewing needles (easy threading, cotton darners, all purpose, sizes 8-9), straight pins, and one light and one dark spool of thread.  Optional items: thimble, threader, tape measure...  All items must be kept in a small, labelled, plastic pencil box.
    • 2 size H (5mm) crochet hooks (one for school and one for home), and 2 skeins of 100% cotton, worsted (kitchen) weight yarn. We will be learning to crochet, a vertical integration of fiber product agriculture, and students will need a crochet hook and yarn at school AND at home for practice and project extensions.

    Suggested Materialsthat students might appreciate keeping in the classroom must be labelled with the student's name in permanent ink and kept in a 1 GAL FREEZER BAG (except shoes). 

    • gardening gloves (this should really be REQUIRED this year since we can't share gloves!)
    • sun-hat, sun-shirt, water bottle, sun-screen, bug-repellent, apron
    • garden Crocs or rubber slip-on shoes that will dry quickly (we don’t have room for boots!)

    Grading Policy

    • Participation 70% (this grade is weighted as Assessment in FOCUS due to the participatory nature of this class).  Participation grades are averaged bi-weekly and uploaded to FOCUS on Mondays (usually). Bi-weekly participation grades consist of the following categories with the acronym CAMP:
      • 25% Cooperation with Partners
      • 25% Active Engagement (this includes attendance and participation in TEAMS meetings for DA students!)
      • 25% Materials Management (safety, intended use, set-up, clean-up)
      • 25% Project Completion
    • Assessments 30% (weighted as Participation in FOCUS): quizzes, tests, and hands-on projects such as following a recipe, designing a garden plot, research and development projects.
    • Late work: materials, forms, family notifications, or assignments handed in late are discounted 25% each day after their due date.  These are considered participation grades.

    Class expectations: safety is of the utmost importance when using tools and equipment, therefore our class expectations reflect this understanding.  Students will:

    1. Be on time with all materials, a pencil, and appropriate clothing for our activities.
    2. Listen carefully with eyes, ears, and body language.
    3. Respect the teacher, each other, all materials and equipment, our workspaces, all living things whether plant or animal, and our school campus.
    4. Follow all teacher and presenter directions.
    5. Use appropriate language and voices to protect the learning environment.
    6. Comply with all school (Code of Conduct) and class Safety Rules (see, “Safety Contract”).

    First Warning: non/verbal reminder and redirection.

    • Safety Violations: also removed from activity for remainder of the day*

    Second Warning: student conference/Think Sheet and parent contact.

    • Safety Violations: also removed from activity for that day and the following day*

    Third Warning: office referral.

    • Safety Violations: also removed from activity for remainder of NINE WEEKS*

    *Students removed from activities for misconduct or Safety Violations will receive a “0” grade for whichever part of CAMP they failed to comply with for each day they miss activities, but will be given a paper-based assignment that must be completed to make-up for whatever project they will miss due to the violation.  Maximum credit students can earn on these alternate assignments is 75%.

    Thank you, I’m excited to work with you in AgriCulture class as a brand new Montford Mustang!

    Sustainably yours,   Ms.Fain            Jo Sigrid Fain fains@leonschools.net