What We Do

Through support of the Toyota USA Foundation, the Florida House Institute created our “Home on Earth” Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education program for 5th Graders across the Gulf Coast of Florida. By using the unique assets of our Sarasota demonstration home and garden, our informal learning platform inspires interest and understanding in science at work in our daily lives.

FHI’s “Home on Earth” STEM program takes energy concepts difficult to convey in the classroom and translates them to students through seven interactive and informative, hands-on learning stations.

Launched in 2015, we estimate more than 3,500 5th grade students will participate in FHI’s “Home on Earth” STEM program by the end of the 2016-2017 school year.

Looking to the future, FHI has plans to expand our “Home on Earth” program to a 2Gen curriculum through partnerships across our area to engage kids, parents and adults of all ages in STEM learning.

Schools that have participated so far:

  1. Lakeview Elementary
  2. Laural Nokomis Elementary
  3. Island Village Montessori School
  4. Wilkinson Elementary
  5. Gocio Elementary
  6. Booker Elementary
  7. Toledo Blade Elementary
  8. Tuttle Elementary
  9. Cranberry Elementary
  10. Alta Vista Elementary
  11. Lamarque Elementary
  12. Ashton Elementary
  13. Oak Park School
  14. New Gate Montessori School

Since starting up the FHI “Home on Earth” STEM program on Oct 01, 2015 over 2180 students have participated.

Comments from teachers etc:

1. The “Home on Earth” Program is part of the Sarasota County School District 2015-2016 Strategic Plan:

Goal2; Objective 2; Projects: "Work in concert with the Florida House Institute and Sarasota County Government to implement the “Home on Earth” initiative funded through a grant from the Toyota USA Foundation. The program will use the Florida House on the Suncoast technical College campus to teach fifth-grade students how energy interacts with the home.

2. Below are comments from Jackilyn Wehner after her class participated in the Operational Testing of the “Home on Earth” STEM Learning Stations.

Thank you so much for the opportunity to visit the FHI.  Our students LOVED the experience and continued talking about it for days after. Even as we continue our studies in energy, students relate what they learn to their experiences with your team.  I was so impressed with the creative energy flowing throughout your entire team and their learning stations. Thank you again for a wonderful experience.

3.Quote from Ryan Miller, Sarasota County Schools Science and Health Program Specialist (K-12).

With the hard work that has been done to create the Home On Earth project at the Florida House, our 5th grade students are able to connect the standards learned in class to real-world applications. This project allows our students to see science in action right in their homes, and are then able to explain it to anyone who will listen!"

4. Quote from Holly Heim, Assistant Principal Emma E. Booker Elementary School.

"Thank you for making this a WONDERFUL learning experience for our students! Both our students and teachers were raving about the trip!"

5. Quote from Ali Binswanger, 5th Grade Teacher Lakeview Elementary School.

"I just wanted to thank you for the AWSOME field trip today to the Florida House! My students were saying it was their favorite so far this year! The activities and stations were right in line with our standards and served as fantastic review!"

6. Quote from Cranberry Elementary School 5th Grade Teacher.

"I have been going on field trips for 26 years and this is by far the best one yet. The science instruction was right on and my students had “Ah Ha” and “I get it moments” throughout the day."

7. Email from Charlene Meyer, ESE Program Specialist, Sarasota County Schools.

Dear Dr. Hosack-Curlin,

Sandi Soper and I were so impressed with the FL House STEM field trip we participated in yesterday.  What a treat!!!!  The hands-on learning activities that you and your staff developed over the summer are spot on for our Sarasota County fifth grade students.  Honestly, we had a difficult time coming up with accommodations because your staff was so engaging, knowledgeable and overall fabulous with the students. Thank you so much for your contribution to our community.

8. Thank you note from Lisa Wheatley; Principal, Lakeview Elementary School.

"Thank you so much for allowing our students to participate in “Science Fair Frenzy”. This was such a great opportunity for our students to be involved in hands-on learning experiences. I really appreciate all you have done for Lakeview students"

Random Student Comments

  1. "Best field trip ever"
  2. "I love science now"
  3. "Awesome, I want to come back"
  4. "I want to work here"
  5. "This was the best field trip I have ever been on."
  6. "Long Live Florida House" (Chant from Oak Park Students as they loaded onto bus.)