One of the biggest complaints that teachers have is that there just aren’t enough hours in the day. These passionate, hard-working professionals care for their students and want to provide them the best education possible. But, between planning for seven classes a day, monitoring hallways, taking recess or lunchroom duties, tutoring students after school, grading papers, and updating student records there is hardly enough time to slip away to the bathroom during the day.
I loved my first year of teaching. It was exciting, challenging and exhausting. Looking back I’m glad I was only a bright-eyed 22 year old and didn’t know any different. I regularly arrived at school by 7am and would rarely leave school before 9pm. I really enjoyed working with students. But each night I fell into bed weary from the day. My sequential years of teaching were a little bit better, but I never NEVER went home at 3:30pm when the school bell rang.
Teachers are asked to do a lot and I think I’ve found a way to help them out. Use agriculture as the way of teaching science, social studies, math and language arts! Teachers around the country are implementing Ag in the Classroom activities into their curriculum as a way of teaching those core concepts. By applying what they learn, students retain more and learn faster. Teachers can do more of what they love – teaching – by doing less work utilizing agriculture to teach these core concepts.
Science is advancing so quickly that we need to start introducing students at younger and younger ages. What if you started talking to 12 year olds – 6th grade students – about DNA? What if they could see DNA for themselves and understand how it is the building block of all living things? Well they can! Students can extract DNA from strawberries with this simple activity. (Full lesson available here or here.)
How about teaching 4th grade elementary students about Iowa history? Iowa history is agriculture! With a fun spin off of the Where’s Waldo books students can learn about history and agriculture with these lessons.
Or how about a fun arts and crafts project to teach students about edible parts of plants. Learning about plant anatomy and healthy eating are just two of the concepts that students will glean from this activity.
Students will never forget these lessons. They are easy for teachers to implement. And because they apply concepts they address multiple competencies that are laid out in education standards like Iowa Core, Next Gen Science Standards, and National Ag Literacy Outcomes.
So this school year, do more by doing less. Bring AGRICULTURE into student classrooms.