Grown Here at Home: Franklin County teacher uses agriculture to teach students math
ROCKY MOUNT, Va. (WDBJ) - Benjamin Franklin Middle School teacher Jennifer Hatch is a recipient of the 2023 National Excellence in Teaching About Agriculture Award. Only nine teachers across the country were given this honor. The accolades don’t stop there. She was also named the Virginia Agriculture in the Classroom 2023 Teacher of the Year.
Ms. Hatch is a 7th grade math teacher. She had a class that had no interest in learning math.
“Math was very hard for them. You could see that when they walked through the doors that they just struggled being here. I had to think, what can I do that would make them want to walk in this room? What can I do to make them be doing the math, but they wouldn’t know that they were doing the math? I thought, let me try a hydroponics machine,” Hatch explained.
At first the kids weren’t sure about the whole thing. But then things started to change.
“We went through this whole unit and did this amazing thing. At the end I’m like, well, we have to harvest our crop, and so I said we have all this lettuce and basil and cilantro. And the kids were like, let’s make spaghetti because you’re Italian. So, I’m like, alright. So we had an awesome spaghetti dinner and salad. The children didn’t know they were doing math, and they were like, you tricked us. You made us do math and we didn’t know we were doing it,” Hatch said.
If you think all of this is great, it gets better.
“What’s interesting is their test scores have, for that one class that didn’t enjoy coming into my class, that didn’t want to be here, their test scores are now just as high as my honors class. I’ve told them before, I have a plaque, but they’re going to all put their names on it, because it’s not my award; it’s ours,” Hatch said.
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