Agriculture Every Day
A new curriculum for educators who are wanting to incorporate agriculture and how it is involved in every day human life is now available through Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.
Maya Hayslett crop sciences youth education specialist, worked with Amy Powell, with the department of animal science at ISU in developing the Agriculture Every Day curriculum that became available in October.
“One of our goals in creating this curriculum was to provide easy, shorter activities that you could do with youth and would help them learn about different aspects of agriculture,” said Hayslett.
One of their target audiences, Hayslett said for the Agriculture Every Day material was club groups, or in educational settings where there is a large age range present.
“Something we found was there was a need for more short, easy club activities,” she said. “But, because they are short and they’re versatile, you can also fit them into a lesson plan for a classroom or an after school activity — things like that as well.”
Geared towards grades fourth through twelfth, all of the lessons within the curriculum follow the 4-H Experiential Learning Model and include hands-on, fun and engaging activities. The curriculum features 12, 20- to 30-minute stand alone lessons, each focusing on a different aspect of agricultural science.
“People that have been in teaching, know there is good evidence, not just kids, but everybody, learns better from hands on learning. They learn better when they are doing things and doing something that’s really active and engaging, but then also taking the time afterwards with some discussions and questions, to process what you have learned,” said Hayslett.
Hayslett said there are six lessons that focus on animal science and six that focus on crop science.
“One of the lessons is a sort of introductory on why crops are important,” she said. “That lesson is called “Plant Purpose,” and it’s a game that shows all of the different products that we use every day that we have to grow crops to be able to have those products – things like food, but also things that are made out of wood and also plastics and fuel. Just kind of showing them why crop production is so important.”
“From Grass to Milk,” Hayslett said is another example of the curriculum that is part of Agriculture Every Day.
“It’s kind of about the digestive system of the cow and how that works using some kind of fun analogies,” she said.
Hayslett said there are lessons on seeds, soil, eggs, beef.
“It really is a diversity of lessons,” she said. “We wanted to hit multiple points of different parts of agriculture so that kids could see there’s a lot of different aspects of agriculture – a lot of different things that go into agriculture and hopefully sparks some interest by showing them all of these different parts of agriculture,” she said.
Each lesson can be taught on its own or combined with others.
Hayslett said they have included the Iowa Core Standards into the lessons that make up the new Agriculture Every Day curriculum.
“We did this so it would be a better resource for classroom teachers and like I said, the 4-H Experiential Learning Model of having a very hands on activity, having time to process and think about what you have learned and how you might then apply that knowledge,” she said.
The Agriculture Every Day curriculum is offered as a free publication that is available for download from the Iowa State University Extension store.