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    Behind the scenes of Science Farm Live

    11 March 2021

    By Kimberley Chadwick – Outreach Manager

    This week we had the pleasure of working alongside the NFU Education Team and Encounter Edu to be a part of a live session for Science Farm Live – a programme designed to bring enthralling and experiential activities to the classroom, virtually, to support British Science Week.

    Go behind the scenes in the video tweet below and keep scrolling to find out more!

    On Tuesday we welcomed to campus the crew from Red Shell Productions and the team from NFU education, who had been working hard alongside Harper Adams Research Associate, Megan Platt and Senior Lecturer, Paula Misiewicz, to create a session exploring soil health and how we use farming technology today – and the potential for the future!

    The event went live at 11am, with Paula’s session about soil, different types, the nutrients within, how it varies across continents and how important it is “to treat our soil as a non-renewable resource”.

    Following this, Megan shared how technology such as Lidars - sensors that can map out the surroundings and environment around a robot - can be used to create driverless vehicles and more specifically tractors! She demonstrated how this technology is used and Josh (NFU Chief Education Manager) had a go at driving some of the robots live. As well as autonomous machinery, Meg and Josh explored precision farming, specifically the use of laser weeding.

    Meg used demonstration equipment to show how the system identifies the weed from the crop and then uses a laser to destroy the weed, leaving behind healthy crops.

    With the help of peas (weeds) and sweetcorn (crops) they demonstrated how technology can be used to improve crop yields and got students to think about different instruments they might use and how precise it could allow them to be - from chopsticks to a hammer! It really allowed students to think about the benefits of precision farming and how we could destroy the peas (weeds) without damaging the sweetcorn (crops) and was really a great way to bring to life the mission behind this latest technology. Peas and sweetcorn task in action!

    Megan said “I have had an absolutely amazing time, really great questions and commentary in the live chat and I thoroughly enjoyed it”. It has been fantastic to work alongside NFU Education and to be able to engage with such a wide audience on a great topic, a topic that’s linked to so many areas of the curriculum and just highlights the exciting areas within STEM for the future.

    “It was mind-blowing to know that 46,000 people signed up for the session on Future Farming and that more than 200,000 young people will engage with Science Farm Live throughout the week, around the globe! I really look forward to working with NFU Education in the future! Pupils’ robot designs

    Future Farming was one of four sessions delivered throughout British Science Week by NFU Education. Harper Adams University worked with Encounter Edu, Red Shell Productions and the NFU to deliver its session, which was broadcast live on YouTube and accompanied by live chat opportunities and in-class activities for the children taking part. Watch the session back on Encounter Edu's channel



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