South Dakota students enjoy virtual road trips

Students can now better explore the state’s geography, history, agriculture and natural resources without leaving the classroom.
By: | June 28, 2019 FrozenShutter

Fourth-grade students in South Dakota can now take a virtual road trip to learn about the state’s geography, history, agriculture and natural resources, thanks to a new curriculum from a local nonprofit organization.

Created by Groundworks Midwest, South Dakota Ag in the Classroom, the web-based South Dakota Road Trip addresses the lack of engaging resources specific to the state’s local geography standards. Piloted last year with 50 school districts, the new curriculum will launch as a free, full-year resource for the 2019-20 school year, providing learning opportunities for 7,500 public, private and homeschool students. 

Students will be able to “visit” at least 30 towns by the fall, says Marsha Kucker, Ag in the Classroom’s project coordinator. The program includes a farming economy introduction with nine sections that range from basic terminology—such as different breeds of livestock and types of feed—to stewardship to the prevalence of certain agricultures. Map builder, timeline and online journal components enable students to record their journey and complete assignments, such as finding out more about the beef life cycle in Lemmon or pioneer life in Scotland.

The website is also available in Spanish. Future plans include integrating another language, and a scrapbook of past and present images of agricultural life in each town, says Kucker. A college credit class for teachers to learn more about state agricultural commodities and the program is also available.

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