Her science students learn inside, and outside, the classroom.
Katherine Acosta watched as her students dug in the dirt, planting vegetables in the Hope Community Garden in Bunnell recently. It’s what she wants them to do, get away from the classroom and into the community.
Acosta has been teaching for seven years since graduating from the University of Central Florida. All seven years have been at Buddy Taylor Middle School teaching science.
“Each year I base our study off student interest,” she said. “With the Flagship program with the county it has gotten easier.”
In past years her students have participated in the Northeast Regional Science Olympiad, science projects the students do at home or at school and compete against other schools in the region.
In 2016, Acosta is hoping to expand the STEM club for her students.
“We would love to do a separate application club, for example, find a community research project where the kids pick what they want to do that maybe aren’t under the existing headings.”
Currently her students are researching different types of gardens, including traditional, hydroponic and aquaponic with koi fish. The class will document which systems work best for different plant production.
Math is an important part of her science class.
“We work math into the science with the layout of the gardens, how much space is needed between plants for them to grow. We are getting a second greenhouse and they will need to know the perimeter area, how many boxes we can use and where we can put them,” she said.
Acosta gets student input on most projects to keep them involved and motivated.
“The kids have so many ideas,” she said. “Some would like to have a big community dinner using the food we grow, and others would like to have plant sale so people can grow their own. We will have a vote to decide what we will do.”
Acosta would rather see her students at outside events like the Hope Garden ribbon cutting and planting.
“I always try to encourage them by staying outside the classroom,” she said. “Not just learn science inside, but take it out and use it.”