For the past 4 years that ECOPONICS has been around, our programmes are usually catered for primary schools in Singapore and we’ve always had the idea to reach out to more schools to educate and let students go out of their comfort zone to experience hands-on learning, the natural method of learning at its best – instead of just memorizing theories and formulas in their heads.
With the birth of our new programme, “Learning Science Through Growing Mushrooms”, we took this opportunity to teach not just primary schools, but secondary and kindergarten students as well. Of course, every lessons are designed specifically to suit the target audience.
Much to my excitement, I took on the assignment of teaching kindergarten children with little or barely any clue on what to expect. I just wanted to relive one of my childhood ambitions as a kindergarten teacher and I definitely had no regrets. Even the teachers gave me useful tips to handle a bunch of 40 curious learners.
LEARNING SCIENCE THROUGH GROWING MUSHROOMS: Interactive learning with students
“Good Morning Everyone! I am Mushroom Girl!” I introduced myself for the very first time. The children had the widest smiles on their face. “Let’s learn about mushrooms!”
I gave out worksheets and pencils to start the class as the first 30 minutes was the educational portion of the whole enrichment programme. “Mushroom girl, can we grow our own mushrooms?” was the question I got from the students at least 6 times that day. I’m glad that the children were all excited to grow their mushrooms and this motivated me further to do my best.
While I have to admit it was a little chaotic at first, with all the children screaming in excitement, I realized that what used to be a fear factor for me turned out to be something a little bit more than that – to be able to educate and inspire my first batch of 40 curious learners made me feel that this experience is completely worthwhile.
The first 30 minutes involves the children learning about food safety, the food pyramid, introduction to mushrooms and learning about parts of mushrooms. Apart from our presentation slides and educational videos, the worksheets given to the students helped them recall some concepts.
ACTIVITY TIME: After going through the theory portion, students get to grow their own mushroom.
To transit to the latter part of the session – Activity Time where children will get to grow their mushrooms, I brought along my own grow kit to show the children what it looks like in hopes of encouraging them to take good care of their mushrooms. I shared with them – both students and teachers some tips on how to grow the mushrooms. Students are given the opportunity to grow the mushrooms in class or at home, depending on their school.
During the Activity Time segment, the teachers allowed them to grow their mushrooms in class. What happens to the worksheets then, you might ask: The worksheets are given to the students so that they can record and observe the growth of their mushrooms. Exposing them to observational skills in kindergarten can help the students transit better to primary school. This is especially true for science lessons where observations are usually recorded. By the end of the session, the children are ready to grow their first batch of mushrooms.
HANDS-ON LEARNING: Mushroom Growing in their classrooms.
These grey oyster mushroom grow kits are given to the students each for them to harvest. The mushrooms can be harvested a total of 2-3 times. I demonstrated how to grow the mushrooms with them. Thankfully, the students are able to catch up, and remember for the upcoming harvest cycles to come.
MUSHROOM GROWKIT: Each student will receive a mushroom growkit!
Finally, to wrap up the entire mushroom growing session, I had a debrief with the students to recall what they have learnt today. “What did you guys learn today?” “Mushrooms!” they screamed in unity. My heart swelled with pride and joy to see that the kids thoroughly enjoyed the session.
All in all, this experience allowed me to not only gain exposure to teach students of a different demographic. It also allowed me to find joy in the littlest of things – like making these kids happy and eager to learn.
That’s it for today! For more enquiries on ECOPONICS’ Learning Science Through Growing Mushroom Programme, do contact us at [email protected]. Alternatively, drop us a call at (+65) 6553 5663 or (+65) 9421 8886.