Flat Stanley has been around for 50 years, and the Flat Stanley Project has been around for more than 20. Almost everyone has seen a Flat Stanley take an adventure, some have even hosted him!
But what really is Flat Stanley? Why is this project something that teachers and families do?
Well, because it’s a fun way to learn about a bunch of different things.
Flat Stanley is a book series and project that helps kids gain literacy skills as well as geography, social studies, and even some art skills!
Since the first book was written over 50 years ago, the Flat Stanley Project began taking its own hold. In 1994, one man in Canada decided that students could really benefit by creating their own Flat Stanley out of paper and sending him out on adventures. This was a fun and interactive way to get kids to write stories, and also had the potential for students across the world to connect with one another and learn about each other’s culture and geography.
The project has been wildly successful (as you probably know if you have known any elementary-aged kids in the past 20 years), and the project boasts implementation in over 15% of elementary schools in the U.S.
We here at IALF appreciate Stanley, and got to thinking, “How can we use this idea to help educate kids and adults about agriculture?”
Then, we had it. Flat Aggie.
Flat Aggie, much like Flat Stanley, is a paper adventurer that travels from farm to ranch to agribusiness without losing any enthusiasm. She has been around for a few years, has popped up in classrooms across the Midwest, and has even made her own Facebook page! And what better place for Aggie to discover agriculture than Iowa?
Here’s the idea: Flat Aggie can be a remote field trip of sorts. IALF has done a lot of work with FarmChat, which is a live video chat with a farmer, rancher, or agribusiness that gets whole classrooms of students into places that might not otherwise be feasible. This kind of virtual field trip has a lot of benefits: the students are more likely to pay attention and hear the presenter, transportation isn’t an issue, the students are able to see inside areas they might not get to in person, and the presenter doesn’t need to worry about liability or injury on their property.
The Flat Aggie project has many of these same positives. Students could see their friend, Flat Aggie, go on these cool adventures not too far from home and learn through those adventures. They could write about her adventures and even study the science, technology, and Iowa geography that she sees.
Another cool aspect of Aggie is that she can be a way for the agriculture community to show their day-to-day practices online in a fun way. Aggie can write blogs or show her adventures through her own hashtag!
What you can do:
Take Aggie on an adventure. If you have a farm, ranch, orchard, apiary, agribusiness, or any agriculture related operation, drop us a line! Take Flat Aggie on a “day in the life” tour of your operation, take lots of photos, write a summary, and send us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org). We’d love to post a blog on Aggie’s newest Iowa adventure.
Tag us! If Aggie sees something particularly cool, post it on social media and tag us! On Twitter, tag us at @IowaAgLiteracy, and on Facebook you can find us at Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation. Also, use the hashtag #FlatAggie so everyone can see her adventures!
Implement it. If this project sounds like an activity that could fit into your classroom or agribusiness, consider using it. You can find an Aggie templates for use in your classroom and beyond here, here, or in the photo above.
Whatever your adventures are, we hope you learn a lot and have fun!