Grow your community with enhanced STEM education

In most instances, a picture is worth a thousand words. But when it comes to the most effective STEM learning, hands-on beats looking at a picture any day of the week.

With a Grow Communities donation directed by farmers Jeff and Janet Yaggie, the Breckenridge Public School District of Minnesota is arming students with the ability to bring science to life … and in 3D.

A Donation From the Heart

The Yaggies’ Grow Communities donation (sponsored by the Bayer Fund) contributed to the purchase of zSpace technology: virtual reality computers that create immersive and interactive experiences.

Sporting 3D goggles and a Bluetooth pen, students can use the devices to learn from a variety of discipline areas. As virtual reality becomes a new professional frontier, Breckenridge students are getting a leg up on STEM education. Breckenridge Superintendent, Diane Cordes, can testify to the power of zSpace. In a demonstration with one of the biology programs, she says she felt like she was holding the human heart in her hand.

Cordes says that in this demo, students in a biology class could feel what it means for a heart to be in atrial fibrillation. They could also “dissect” the heart and look at its ventricles and aortas. The virtual reality technology allows students to engage in experiential learning and can be applied to science, anatomy, mathematics, the arts and many more disciplines.

You can see how fast the heart is beating. You can feel it through the pen.
Diane Cordes, Breckenridge Superintendent

Spreading STEM Learning

The Breckenridge district’s purchase of this virtual reality technology is just one way Grow Communities is looking to impact rural America. Over the last decade, America’s Farmers has changed communities across the country through more than $29 million in farmer-nominated donations.

Local American farmers, just like the Yaggies, can nominate community nonprofits they love for the chance to win a $2,500 grant. Supply more food to those in need. Support STEM youth organizations. In whatever way your neighbors need help, you can share your passion for ag with a nomination for one of Grow Communities’ grants for nonprofits today.