One intent of the development of the CASE project is to elevate the rigor of science and math in agricultural education. To accomplish this, there are supplies and equipment that are needed that may not be in a traditional Agricultural Education classroom. However, creativity is an attribute of many agricultural educators, so don’t let a tight budget keep you from offering CASE opportunities to students. Work with administration and grant writers to develop a plan to acquire the necessary equipment over a period of time if need be.
We recognize that with current budget situations, purchasing every item that is recommended may not be feasible. Many schools are coming up with innovative strategies to implement CASE on a tight budget. A few strategies that you may find useful include:
- Partner with your science department and share science equipment, such as compound light microscopes, dissecting microscopes, incubators, hot plates, electronic balances and other expensive items. Most science classes do not need these materials everyday and neither will you. (You may even be surprised and find a “hand-me-down” set of microscopes stored away.)
- Purchase reduced quantities of items and have students work in larger groups. In many lab-based activities, CASE recommends that students work in pairs in order that all students gain valuable experience in lab procedures and data collection. However, you can reduce the number of items needed by having students work in groups of four. Buy ½ this year, ½ next year.
- Reach out to local businesses and community members. In times like this, many people may not be able to sponsor a class set of an item, but may be able to sponsor one station.
- Make adjustments to ordering needs based on your average class size. If you average fewer than 20 students per class, you will need fewer items.
- Partner with a neighboring school district and pool your resources.
- Explore regional and state grant programs, such as NEA, Lowe’s, and Wal-Mart.
- Make requests on www.DonorsChoose.org
What not to do:
- Give up.
- Eliminate an entire large value item, such as microscopes.
- Purchase so few items that all students do not have the opportunity to experience all laboratories.
- Neglect to plan for adding missing materials in the coming years.