Youth Educator Workshop on Connecting Learning and Living to Agriculture

Linda Naeve, P & S, Entomology

Situation

Unlike previous generations, many children in Iowa have little or no connection with the land and knowledge of where their food comes from. Although teachers realize the importance of teaching agriculture and environmental education, many find it difficult because of their limited expertise and the lack of an inclusive curriculum that meets strict state standards and benchmark requirements. Teachers need training and applicable curriculum materials and resources to teach this important subject area.

Objective

To connect youth educators to agriculture, natural resources, food, and people through hands-on, research-based lessons that they can easily implement in their classrooms and out of school programs.

Activities

Thirty-one kindergarten through 12th grade teachers, naturalists, as well as Master Gardeners and Ag in the Classroom volunteers attended a two-day Connecting Learning and Living to Agriculture Workshop. Grants and contributions enabled the participants to receive between $140 to $170 worth of curriculum and books, tapes, CD's, posters and banners for a minimal registration fee.  One professional development AEA (Prairie Lakes) credit was offered. The first day was an outdoor classroom where educators toured the conservation center and met with experts in agriculture and environmental science. The second day included hands on activities in which the participants learned several lessons from the Growing in the Garden (GITG) and Where We Live (WWL) curriculum and how the lessons are correlated with local and national standards and benchmarks and questions on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills for all subject matter areas. 

Impact/Outcomes

The educators attending this workshop stated that they intended to utilize a few to several of the lessons from these programs and integrate them into current curriculum. Those participating in the workshop have the potential of reaching over 600 youth annually with 10 to 60 hours of agriculture, environmental education, and nutrition in science, math, social studies, reading and language arts. The students will also learn valuable life skills that correlate with character counts programs. Follow up surveys of the teachers and pre- and post-activity questionnaires will determine the impact of the training and how the curriculum was used to improve students' understanding and appreciation of agriculture and the environment.

 

2005
150 -- Environmental Stewardship

Page last updated: July 9, 2006
Page maintained by Linda Schultz, lschultz@iastate.edu