Indiana Schools Take Hands-On Learning to a New Level through Monsanto Fund Grants

Across Indiana, school districts are teaching students about the challenges of the real world. With an increasing number of hands-on learning opportunities, students can develop a whole new set of skills. This past year, $160,000 in grants was awarded to 13 Indiana school districts through farmer nominations and America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund.

In Wabash County, Manchester Community Schools received a $25,000 grant to help fund the building of a greenhouse. Students from a variety of subjects will be involved with the greenhouse project. Math students will do calculations for the greenhouse design, and building trades students will work to assemble it. Once construction is complete, science and agriculture students will grow a variety of seeds in the greenhouse.

“This grant will enable us to provide real-world experience in the fields of math, science, agriculture, and technology,” said Janelle McLaughlin, curriculum director. “It will allow for more hands-on education and technology integration that will positively impact student achievement.”

The winning school district in White County chose to use their $10,000 grant to support a school garden. The garden will help Tri-County School Corporation students apply concepts they have learned in math, science, and agriculture courses. Students will participate in all aspects of the garden, and once the produce is ready, it will be used in the school cafeteria.

“With this grant, students will be able to eat fresh produce that they may not get on a regular basis. Good nutrition feeds the brain and helps students learn, so our goal is to see improved academics in the long-term,” said Dr. Kathy Goad, Tri-County High School principal. “The kitchen staff is also excited about the quality of food they can serve to students now.”

Across the US, school districts are working to incorporate Common Core state standards and hands-on learning opportunities into their math and science curriculum. These new opportunities are designed to provide real world experiences that help grow the next generation by preparing them for success in college and in their careers. Now in its third year, the America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education program is once again gearing up to help rural school districts by investing over $2.3 million to strengthen math and science education in rural communities.

Between now and April 6, 2014, farmers have the opportunity to nominate their local public school district to compete for a grant of either $10,000 or $25,000. Administrators from nominated school districts can then submit grant applications for either amount, through April 21, 2014 to enhance their math and/or science programs.

For more information about the America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education program and to view the official rules, a list of eligible states, counties and CRDs, visit