Welcome to the DOWN-TO-EARTH Web site,
where we share with you what we have learned from years digging in the fields of North
This site is cultivated for educators who are curious about
working with kids in "a classroom without walls," but DOWN-TO-EARTH isnt just for schoolteachers. We make gardening fun for kids of
The information contained in this Web site is designed to introduce you to some
of the interesting stuff in our curriculum. Hard copies of the bound curriculum contain
detailed subject information, learner activities and evaluations, and much, much, more!
So sit back, and bear with us as we grow. Also,
please help us learn more about your involvement in gardening with kids by posting items
on our "Message Board."
We also encourage kids, parents, and educators to "Submit
a link to Bob and Ellen." -- Dr. Bob Williamson and Dr. Ellen Smoak,
developers of DOWN-TO-EARTH.
DOWN-TO-EARTH is an award- winning program that
encourages youth and educators to use gardening as a means to explore growing food or
fiber. Through this "fun-filled" program, children get the basics of botany, the
gist of gardening, the essentials of ecology and much, much more.
WHAT'S OUR PURPOSE?
Because it is often misunderstood, children seldom use the scientific method to solve
problems. DOWN-TO-EARTH invites children to use hands-on
approaches to learn the scientific method while solving a food or fiber growth problem.
WE'RE STRIVING TO ...
- Educate future decision-makers
- Reduce health risks
- Enrich learning
BY HELPING CHILDREN ...
- Increase self-esteem
- Explore ecological systems
- Build positive attitudes
- Explore careers
AND THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD?
DOWN-TO-EARTH stresses critical thinking, reasoning and
problem solving. Once children master the scientific method, they realize that there are
no wrong ideas, wrong experiments, wrong results, wrong conclusions or wrong answers.
IS IT FOR YOU?
DOWN-TO-EARTH is for any educator working with, schools,
nature centers, community groups, youth organizations, or others who work with youth in an
educational setting. This is a user-friendly program for a variety of age groups, learning
style preferences and neighborhoods.
BENEFITS THAT START NOW...
Gardening entices all of our senses and cultivates useful life skills. By watching buds,
leaves, and fruit form, a child learns patience. As they water and weed plants, a child
learns responsibility. By gathering the results, the child feels a sense of pride and the
pleasure of growing things.
AND BENEFITS THAT LAST A LIFETIME!
Children gain the spirit of teamwork from working with classmates, parents, teachers and
Our instructor's notebook contains easy to understand background information, specific
content objectives and learner expectations. With our accompanying Student Guidebook,
children can participate in a research project that could lead to a future career.
AND PROVIDE ASSESSMENTS TOO!
We also provide you with attitudinal and academic assessments to measure any behavioral
changes and progress toward understanding the program topics.
- Scientific method
- Growing plants
- Worker safety
- Insect control
- Water quality
- Sun protection
- Weed control
THAT'S NOT ALL... You may also want to order copies
of a companion publication -- Keeping the Science in Your
Science Project. The booklet offers guidelines for producing a high-quality
science fair project.
VOICES OF EXPERIENCE A team of Extension specialists
from NC A&T State University created the DOWN-TO-EARTH
educational program. Recommendations from 25 educators and results from a pilot study with
over 2,000 rural and urban children make it work.