FARMING MATTERS: Taking farm into the classroom

NFU president Minette Batters and NFU member Hannah Jackson celebrate the launch of Farmvention with primary school children
NFU president Minette Batters and NFU member Hannah Jackson celebrate the launch of Farmvention with primary school children

Primary schools can enter a national competition with a top prize giving them the chance to have their school turned into a farm for a day.

The competition, run by the National Farmers Union (NFU), aims to get primary school children engaging with key topics such as science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) by designing and creating their own food and farming products.

Fifty school children and their teachers who took part in the pilot project attended the launch of the competition at Birmingham’s ThinkTank Museum, where they took on the challenge of creating their own tractor of the future and designing and preparing a seasonal snack to take home.

NFU president Minette Batters, who officially opened the competition, said: “Farmvention brings real life farming situations into the classroom and it’s fantastic to see so many young people getting involved.

“Food and farming is inextricably linked to STEM subjects and the NFU’s competition offers a rare chance for children to put this learning into practice in a new and exciting way.

“As an industry it is important to us that children know about where their food comes from. Farmvention is a fantastic opportunity to develop their education and problem solving skills at the same time as learning about food production and the challenges farmers face every day.”

Finalists will be invited to present their designs at the House of Commons during British Science and Engineering Week, where the winning school will be announced.

The closing date for applications is December 21.

The three challenges to choose from are:

Design a tractor of the future.

Design an environment for a flock of 100 laying hens.

Design a new snack product that uses one or more of the following four British foods; milk,beef, beetroot or oats.

Each challenge is supported by curriculum linked resources which the NFU created in partnership with the Association for Science Education (ASE).

Other prizes for shortlisted schools include: fully funded farm visits; £600 to spend on robotics products for the school; class packs of data loggers; and a chef visit to the school.