NFU live lessons reaches and teaches 200,000 students

08 March 2021

More than 200,000 primary school pupils delve into the world of food and farming in one of the country’s biggest virtual classrooms, as the NFU broadcasts live lessons to celebrate British Science Week.

Children up and down the UK will be putting their Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) knowledge and skills into practice when they join lessons, designed and delivered by the NFU’s education team and members. The lessons tackle such exciting topics as the lifecycles of farm animals and plants, and how future technology can benefit the environment.

Bringing lambing into the classroom

Welsh sheep farmer, Sioned Davies, kicks off the NFU’s Science Farm Live programme by bringing the lambing shed into classrooms where children will have front row seats to experience lambs being born.

Varied lessons 

The diverse programme of lessons will include:

  • A deep dive into how robots and technology can help solve farming problems with engineering experts from Harper Adams University.
  • Founder of Eggucation, Deb Howe, asks the age-old question – which came first, the chicken or the egg?
  • A farming-themed climate science show, hosted by Welsh science Museum Techniquest.
  • Vet school with industry-renowned farm vet Navaratnam Partheeban.

Greater understanding

NFU President Minette Batters said: “The sheer number of students signed up to our live lessons demonstrates the huge appetite from children and teachers alike to learn STEM subjects through agriculture, and the NFU’s education programme is a fantastic way to deliver this.

“The UK’s multiple lockdowns have been really difficult for our educators. By switching to a virtual model, we have been able to create programmes and resources that make it much easier for teachers to deliver really effective STEM learning, whether children are at home or in the classroom.

“Inserting farming and rural life into the classroom is hugely important as it connects the nation’s future with its heritage. Holding virtual live lessons enables children to have that exciting farming experience, even if they aren’t able to physically visit a farm, and they will provide fantastic content for their first week back at school.

“These lessons also come at a time when there is a growing focus on climate-friendly, high-welfare food production, so it’s fantastic that schools want to provide their pupils with greater understanding about how UK farmers produce the food on their plates.”

Inspiring schools

Welsh sheep farmer Sioned Davies, who will be delivering today’s lesson on lambing, said: “As someone who is at the start of their career in agriculture, it’s really exciting to share the opportunities within farming with the next generation. It’s even better when you get to open up a whole new world to children who may have never been on a farm, or perhaps even to the countryside.

“I have learned so much through my agricultural journey and continue to do so, for example, about how we can balance food production with environmental delivery. By sharing my experience, I hope to inspire school children to follow a career in agriculture – after all, life in farming is a constant education.”

Fundamental life-lessons

Industry vet Navaratnam Partheeban, who will be leading Friday’s vet school lesson, said: “Knowing what’s on your plate, where it came from and how it was produced is a fundamental life lesson, and one we should start to learn from a young age.

“The high levels of animal welfare I see and practice every day is a core part of British farming. As a person who cares for animals for a living, it’s really important to me that all generations develop an understanding of animals’ needs, health and welfare, both within farming and outside it.

“I truly believe that getting children engaged, and showing them how it’s done right, will carry us well into the future.”

Find out more

Three teachers explain how the NFU's Science Farm Live programme is an effective and fun way to teach STEM subjects.

Sign up for Science Farm Live - NFU Education

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