DARLINGTON, SC (WBTW) Darlington Middle School held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new science-based Research Courtyard pilot on Wednesday.
The program was created through a $5,000 grant from Duke Energy along with involvement from the Pee Dee Public Education Collaborative, Clemson University and other state agencies.
Darlington Middle is the first site to host the innovative, teaching program which combines hands-on learning, problem-solving and team-based activities.
“I’ve been apart of the Pee Dee Collaborative for the last two years, and we’ve been having many conversations and many meetings talking about getting this research project on the way, so it’s an exciting day for us,” said Eddie Shuler, Principal of Darlington Middle School.
Sixth grade students will be first to test out the program where they will grow plants in raised plant beds using different research treatments.
There are four plant beds outside the school so far. Science teachers at DMS will guide students through the research with help from high school student assistants. The student assistants will be from the Darlington County Institute of Technology’s South Carolina Agricultural Education Program.
DCIT students will be mentored by a Darlington County Clemson Extension Service agent. Some of the things students will grow are onions and lettuce.
“Using different nitrogen rates because they are studying plant needs and what nutrients they need. They’ll be measuring what effect it has on the plants in terms of it’s growth and development, and its photosynthesis,” said Jim Frederick, Clemson University Professor.
Students will measure those rates throughout March and April. Frederick said they plan to expand the program to seventh and eighth grade students in 2020.
“I’m so happy. Hands-on training for these kids can be lifechanging. We have so many career opportunities in the agriculture arena, but our kids just don’t know about it,” said Robert Williams, South Carolina House Of Representatives.