In March 2020, the Animal Learning Lab at the Vinton-Shellsburg High School celebrates its sixth anniversary. The lab provides V-S students with unique curriculum opportunities and stronger learning experiences in animal production and technology. It’s a valuable resource for students to learn more about where agricultural food sources begin and how they arrive in the store. The facility also serves as a community asset as it can host workshops and community outreach programs involving other school districts, 4-H groups, or organizations like ISU Extension.
The learning lab gives students hands-on instruction. In many cases, today’s students interested in agriculture careers may not have opportunities to experience farm life first-hand. The animal learning lab essentially brings the “barn,” and all of its experiences directly to the student. It is a home to student’s SAE (Supervised Agricultural Experiences) projects when they can’t be housed at their residence. V-S students have access to courses like Ag I, aqua science, animal science, ag business, landscape design, natural resources, intro to horticulture, and vet med. Other classes, including principles of agronomy and precision farming, are scheduled on alternating years.
Grants, donations, and input from several area businesses and community members made the facility a reality. Financial support for the project included a $10,500 gift from Cargill and a commitment from our local ag ed advisory committee to raise $150,000.
The animal learning lab also supports the school’s branch of
the National FFA Organization. FFA is a youth leadership organization that
helps students develop life skills through their motto: Learning to Do, Doing
to Learn, Earning to Live, Living to Serve. The lab offers space to help with
fruit sales and FFA meetings and events. V-S FFA will be celebrating National
FFA Week from February 22 to 29. Watch the school’s social media pages for highlights
of the program throughout the week.
For more information about the Vinton-Shellsburg Community School District, please visit www.vscsd.org.To learn more about the V-S FFA Chapter, contact Melissa Heeren at Melissa.firstname.lastname@example.org.
(photo left) The Animal Learning Lab gives students hands-on experience with the birthing and processing a variety of babies like piglets and chicks.
(photo center) Students have the ability to participate in a wide range of activities and classes within the AL lab. The facility has room for instruction with horses, cattle, swine, sheep, poultry, rabbits, and companion animals. It offers learning space for non-traditional learning opportunities including the dissection of plants and animals, post mortem evaluations, and other (messy) activities not appropriate for a traditional classroom.
(photo right) The AL lab is equipped with rabbit/poultry cages, a cattle chute, pig scale, pig crate, chicken coops, and livestock gates/panels.