Fourth-grade students at Bond Hill Academy got a treat when BrightFarms came to visit on Friday, April 20. To celebrate Earth Day, BrightFarms, a greenhouse that will soon deliver locally grown and fresh produce to Cincinnati supermarkets, brought virtual reality (VR) headsets and other activities to five schools around the country for a virtual field trip. Bond Hill Academy was the only school in Ohio to participate.
“We were thrilled that BrightFarms chose our school to teach students about the importance of growing locally,” said Latishie Wodetzki, intermediate STEM specialist at Bond Hill. “They brought VR headsets so students could tour one of their greenhouse facility and they’re teaching our students how they build their greenhouses and grow produce. All these aspects of the day tie in perfectly to our STEM focus and Vision 2020 curriculum around math and science.”
For the VR experience, students strapped on a headset and took a three-minute, 360-degree tour of a BrightFarms greenhouse, complete with audio detailing greenhouse features. Once students completed the tour, they could play a game of cornhole while they waited to move on to the next station.
Other stations included building a greenhouse and a hands-on lesson to learn about the technology used to grow local produce. Students “seeded the boards,” which is the technique used by BrightFarms to grow produce. The head grower of the new Wilmington, Ohio greenhouse, Nick Chaney, and other members of the Ohio growing team led students through the activities.
“Our mission is to bring fresh, local, sustainably grown produce to everyone and advocate for a healthier planet,” said Chaney. “Part of that is educating our next generation of not just eaters, but growers, engineers and food scientists along the way. VR can amplify lessons that are already being shared in classrooms and is a powerful tool to engage students in a new way.”
Students also participated in a discussion with their new friends from BrightFarms about why greenhouses are good for the environment and help produce food in an environmentally-friendly way.
The BrightFarms Wilmington Greenhouse will open later this summer and supply fresh produce to Cincinnati supermarkets.
Keep up with everything happening at Bond Hill Academy at http://www.bondhill.cps-k12.org.