Discovering Dairy in the Classroom Could Earn Schools Mini-Grants

4/17/2012

        Educators teaching grades third - eighth and based in Pennsylvania could earn one of four $100 mini-grants available for completing an evaluation of the "Discover Dairy Lesson Series," a comprehensive web-based educational tool that uses Pennsylvania educational standards to teach students how dairy farms contribute to their world.

        Discover Dairy was introduced in 2008 as a joint initiative of the Pennsylvania Dairy Promotion Program, Mid-Atlantic Dairy Association and Center for Dairy Excellence. The program is funded through the Dairy Checkoff program and offered at no cost to educators. It includes lessons for upper elementary and middle school classrooms that incorporate math, science and reading concepts to show how dairy farmers care for their cows, the milk they produce, the environment and the community.

        "Discover Dairy has been a wonderful tool to educate students about where their food comes from," said Jayne Sebright, communications director of the Center for Dairy Excellence and coordinator of Discover Dairy. "We have had more than 600 teachers use the program over the past four years, and we want to continue the program's success by getting input from the teachers using it on how to make it even more relevant in the classroom."

        To be eligible to win one of the mini-grants, the teachers must use at least two of the Discover Dairy lessons in their classroom and complete an online evaluation of the lessons by May 31, 2012. All materials for the lessons, including a video motivator, lesson plan, guided reading tool, classroom activity or lab-based instruction, and an assessment tool, are available to download online at www.discoverdairy.com. Mini-grants will be awarded for the 2012-2011 academic year and can be used to purchase classroom supplies.

        Dairy farm families with connections in local school districts are encouraged to visit with teachers and curriculum advisors to encourage them to take advantage of the mini-grant opportunity. "The lessons are interactive, engaging and fun, and they would serve as an ideal "treat" for students at the end of the academic year," Sebright said.

        Anyone interested in helping to promote the contest in their local school district should contact Sebright at 717-346-0849 or jsebright@centerfordairyexcellence.org for more information.

        In addition to the Discover Dairy Lesson Series, other resources are available at www.discoverdairy.com to educate students about the dairy farm. Any dairy farm family planning a farm tour can access a Discover Dairy Farmer Toolkit, Pre-tour Planning Guide and other resources to use in building a plan for educating the students while at the farm. To access the online materials or to request a Discover Dairy Farmer Toolkit, go to www.discoverdairy.com and click on "Farmer."

        For more information about the Discover Dairy Lesson Series and other resources, visit www.discoverdairy.com or contact Jayne Sebright at the Center for Dairy Excellence at 717-346-0849 or jsebright@centerfordairyexcellence.org. To find out more information about the mini-grant opportunity, click on "Discover Dairy Mini-Grant Opportunity" on the bottom right of the Discover Dairy home page.