An estimated 800 parents, children, and educators came out for Gateway Polytechnic Academy’s first-ever STEAM into Agriculture Night last week, celebrating a quarter-long curriculum that had students focusing on agriculture in their classrooms. Arizona Farm Bureau’s Ag in the Classroom (AITC) helped spearhead the educational curriculum and event.

More than 800 parents, teachers and students showed up at Gateway Polytechnic Academy's first-ever STEAM into Agriculture Night.

Designed for a family night out with a free meal, Gateway Polytechnic Academy’s students demonstrated their achievements during the three-hour event. For the past three months, students used agriculture, from pigs to flowers to drones, as the foundation to meet their state learning standard requirements.  Each grade level selected an area within agriculture that interested them. From there, they were provided lessons and materials by Arizona Farm Bureau’s AITC and paired with a local Arizona farmers or businesses to Pen Pal and Skype with students. Classes also attended field trips to local nurseries and the Phoenix Zoo and received classroom presentations and instruction from AITC and their producer pals.

“Queen Creek Unified School District is incredibly fortunate to have such a diversity of resources at Gateway Polytechnic Academy,” said QCUSD Superintendent Dr. Perry Berry. “The STEAM into Agriculture event is an engaging way for the community to learn about our partnership with Arizona Farm Bureau and the wealth of opportunities offered at GPA for their children."

Arizona Farm Bureau AITC also worked with local producers to construct a school garden. Local grower Jason Perry donated the planting dirt and Justin Perry donated the tractor tires for planting. A&P Nursery donated the mulch for the growing medium. Students participated in painting the tires, filling the tires and planting in the tires.

The STEAM into Agriculture Night allowed students to show off their projects and what they learned to family and other community members. Hot dogs were provided by the Pork Council, the Pork Shop donated bratwurst and Farm Bureau Financial Services donated water, chips, and pickles and cooked the meals on the Farm Bureau grill. There were 816 meals served at the event.

Local Bee Man and Producer Pen Pal, Dave Petersen, attended the event and talked bees with participants. Jason Perry brought his newest tractor for attendees to see the technology that is used every day on the farm. Also, in attendance were Danzeisen Dairy handing out samples of their now-famous flavored milk. Additionally, Nindi Wadhwa of Scooptacular ice cream provided attendees with ice cream samples. Beef Council was in attendance teaching about the different cuts of meat. Queen Creek 4-H provided a goat petting zoo and roping station. Hickman’s Family Farms attended with Funky!

Attendees included teachers, students, parent and school district staff.

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