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National Agriculture in the Classroom


Summary 2019 — Alaska

State Contact

Ms Melissa Sikes
Alaska Agriculture in the Classroom
590 University Ave Suite 2
Fairbanks, AK 99709
P: 907.479.1213 x105

Classroom Resources

The Indoor Gardening Curriculum lessons were revised and updated with new NGSS and AK state science standards . Word and PDFs of two documents explaining the standards correlations and definitions/core ideas for all the lessons were put up on the website. New files with just the directions for construction for 3 of the systems were created and posted as well. The URL for the Alaska Indoor Gardening Curriculum is Titles of the revised lessons and Information Pages: Reading a Seed Packet Starting Plants in a Classroom Salad Container Greenhouse Indoor Gardening Lighting Systems Handout Window Sill Gardening Fact Sheet Eggheads Name in Seeds Garden Soil Exploration Do You Know the Parts of Plants? Plant Parts - Roots Plant Parts- Leaves Plant Parts - Stems Plant Parts - Flowers Plant Parts - Seeds Hydroponic Plant Growth Harvesting Plants:Leaves Pollination in Hydroponics Introduction to Hydroponics Systems Hydroponics PPT Simple Passive Hydroponics Setting up the Floating Platform Hydroponics System Hydroponic Growing Mediums Setting Up the Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) Hydroponics System Chena Hot Springs Tower System Modified Smaller Grow Tower System Setting up the Aquaponics system Aquaponics Fish Care Composting Worms Lesson Worm Booklet In addition links to NAITC hydroponics lessons were added to the curriculum page including: Exploring Aquaponics Lesson (grades K-2) Exploring Aquaponics Lesson (grades 3-5) Test Tube Hydroponics Lesson Aeroponic Engineering and Vertical Farming What, No Soil? Lesson Desktop Greenhouses A new modified version of the hydroponic grow tower, using smaller components such as 2 gallon buckets instead of 5 gallon buckets, was developed in collaboration with the University of Alaska Upward Bound program. This is a link to that new version of the grow tower:

Major Program Impacts or Outcomes

100% of teachers who attended the indoor gardening and AK AITC workshops held in Fairbanks, Kenai, Anchorage and Juneau stated that they would use and integrate agriculture lessons, especially indoor gardening projects, into their curriculum Developing the team for the Fire-up Grant helping them to provide support for teachers has greatly increased the ability of AKAITC to spread information about our program throughout the state. With the availability of the online Alaska Agriculture in the Classroom and the Alaska Indoor Gardening Curriculum lessons, many teachers throughout Alaska are inspired to integrate agriculture lessons into their teaching. The collaboration with the University of Alaska Cooperative Extension Service on the EPA Environmental Education Grant has greatly increased the awareness of Alaska Agriculture in the Classroom and has led to us being invited to participate in a number of programs as well as consideration for inclusion on additional grants being written by university staff. As a result of the indoor gardening curriculum becoming well known, village schools in rural Alaska are reaching out to AKAITC for assistance with setting up agriculture projects in areas that have not had programs before.


Mel Sikes has a Bachelors of Science degree from Unity College in Maine. She has been an environmental and natural resource educator since 1988 She has worked for many organizations including but not limited to the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, the Calgary Zoo, and the Northern Alaska Environmental Center. She has developed many programs that have trained many teachers on using interdisciplinary hands-on activities to help students to connect with their world. She has developed many activities and lesson plans to help this process. She has been with FSWCD since the fall of 2010 and her duties include planning and instructing environmental education themed after school program for elementary and middle school students. Instructing Project Wild/Project Learning Tree/Project WET educator workshops. Project manager with the Green Infrastructure program working with property owners on managing stormwater runoff. She has worked with the AKAITC program since FSWCD was chosen as the coordinator in August of 2013.