FarmBeats for Students

Today's farms are beginning to look a lot more like smart cities. Growers are using modern techniques like sensors, computer vision, and artificial intelligence to acquire a more complete view of their crops. These methods help them make better decisions, discover inefficiencies, and unlock new insights into improving food production. The FarmBeats for Students program brings these modern tools into the hands of today's learners.

The program combines an affordable hardware kit with curriculum and activities designed to give students hands-on experience in applying precision agriculture techniques to food production. Using an array of sensors, students stream and analyze data in Excel. With, they build, train, and apply machine learning models to track and inform plant health. Activities where have students setup an agent and work with a curated big data set. The learning progression enables students to easily see the connections between these modern agriculture tools and the opportunities they afford.

Engaging student experiences

Using FarmBeats for Students, students learn about AIMachine Learning, and the Internet of Things (IoT) by building a garden monitoring system. They assemble a Raspberry Pi equipped with atmospheric and environmental sensors to understand their soil's health, analyze data, and make decisions. The student-built IoT devices connect to custom Excel workbooks that collect real-time data using Excel’s Data Streamer. Using, students are introduced to building their own Machine Learning models, applying the technique to predict nutrient deficiencies in their plants, and identifying pests in their garden. The program ends by introducing a responsible AI framework, engaging students with some of the social and ethical challenges raised by this new technology.

The five lesson plans and activities have been designed to align with the AI4K12's AI education guidelines and the 5 Big Ideas.

Photo of student working with the FarmBeats for Students kit.

Comprehensive educator resources

The curriculum concepts and performance objectives are backed by the educational standards that are important to you. The content includes a detailed 20-day timeline, hardware build instructions, student activity guides, sample questions & answers, agriculture and technology teacher notes, and PowerPoint presentations.

Graphic showing steps to Get Started with FarmBeats for Students. 1. Explore the sensor kit. Connect environmental atmospheric sensors to a Raspberry Pi 4. 2. Download free classroom materials. Use standards aligned collection of AI, ML & data science resources. 3. Learn to use modern tools. Stream live data from the sensors to Excel using Data Streamer. Use Lobe for no-code ML models. 4. Gain insights about your garden. Leverage your learnings to improve growing conditions and crop production.

Big Idea 1: Perception

Students build their own IoT device with a Raspberry Pi and an array of sensors.

Lesson contents

  •  Introduction to FBFS presentation
  •  Perception presentation
  •  Activity 1: Sensors for watering decisions
  •  Activity 2: Sensors for growing optimization

Get lesson 1

Photo of farm equipment in a field.

Big Idea 2: Representation & Reasoning

Students create an AI agent to notify them of soil moisture levels.

Lesson contents

  • Representation & Reasoning presentation
  • Activity 1: Construct an AI agent
  • Activity 2: Calculate growing degree units (GDUs)

Get lesson 2

Photo of a smart city showing internet connections between buildings.

Big Idea 3: Learning

Students use ML models to identify nutrient deficiencies in plants.

Lesson contents

  • Learning presentation
  • Activity 1: Big Data analysis
  • Activity 2: ML models for nutrient deficiencies

Get lesson 3

Photo of a robot hand putting a square peg in a hole.

Big Idea 4: Natural Interaction

Students use AI to identify pests in their garden with Lobe.

Lesson contents

  • Natural Interaction presentation
  • Activity 1: ML models for garden pests

Get lesson 4

Photo of a robot hand picking tomatoes.

Big Idea 5: Societal Impact

Students discover how AI impacts them and the world around them.

Lesson contents

  • Societal Impact presentation
  • FBFS Conclusion presentation

Get lesson 5

Photo of a robot balancing a scale on its hand.

Get the classroom-ready kits designed to work with the FarmBeats for Students lesson plan

Available for purchase here

Illustration of the FarmBeats for Students kit with sensors connected to a laptop computer.

Teacher resources