UrbanAgTech Camps at Mezzacello in June
Exploring Ag Tech, Careers, and Science
How many dolls are in that model of reality?! Can it get any smaller?!Andrea
This past summer 2021 I had the pleasure of hosting UrbanAgTech Camps at Mezzacello in June! This camp was a blast and the students captured my heart and taught me so much about teaching kids at Mezzacello. But we did have some crazy adventures!
In one of the early design challenges, the students were given resources to build a secure cage for the baby chicks that were arriving the next day. The students designed and built this mobile habitat and they were so excited to put it together. The kicker was that the instructions were in Piglatin (a simple language algorithm) that surprisingly, middle school kids do not have a lot of experience with.
People Plan, But Life Adapts
There was a plan, of course, but teaching 12 kids on an urban farm in the summer during a pandemic has a way of changing plans. The great news is that even our pivots were fun! We built a mobile vet tech hospital, a mobile whiteboard computer lab, and a modified soil testing unit for soil on Mars. It was a great deal of fun!
It was an interesting challenge working with kids in a camp that is also your home. It feels like I never left, and other times everyone else did. Like the time it rained and all the kids called their parents and went home.
You don’t stop working on a farm because it’s raining! You thank the environment and ecosystems for the rain and keep working!Jim Bruner
We were able work in the six main areas of learning and research! We divided the 12 kids into three teams; Team Red Roses (BioTech) Team Blue Ocelot (Systems Design and implementation) Team Duck (Engineering). The kids were into it, but I discovered that you need to TEACH the other adults in the room, the other 1,000 one needs to know about an urban farm.
The Research and Products
- Health and Safety Impacts
- Animal Needs
- Feed and Water
- Water Quality
- Identifying Parasites
- Planting strategies
- Food Collection and Prep
- Computer Development
- Data Strategies
- Coding and Robotics
- Building Instructions
- Design Challenge Implementation
- Testing and Tool Cleaning
- Robot Deployment
- Design and Tools
- Bioreactor Schematics
- Soil Test Facility
- Door and Sensor Deployment
- Security and Maintenance
- CAD and Schematics
- Robotic Maintenance
The kids and the teams all came together very well. The kids learned and more importantly were able to apply what they learned to solve problems and devise solutions on the fly. That made me very proud.
The most flattering aspect of the camp was the fact that the kids wanted to share what they were learning. Each kid was eager to give tours of Mezzacello to their parents at the end of the day. That was really powerful to watch them explain systems they implemented or things they had designed, or the animals and sanitation systems they cared for.
I was amazed at how excited and smart these middle school kids were about science and the farm at Mezzacello! It was the most delightful tour! They were so eager to share what they’s learned.Deb Lefman, Neighbor
The teams were also encouraged to film a three minute video to the next camp. In this video they offered advice to the next campers, what their favorite and least favorite part5s of the camps were, and finally what they want their careers to be in the future – based on their experience. that was a delightful and surprising.
I hope to run this camp again. There were lessons learned and successes, but mostly there was fun. See how Camp Two progressed!