OREP teachers learning together

Twenty teachers from rural Ohio districts dug deep into agriculture-related learning recently, thanks to support from a grant from USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture and support from Educationprojects.org and Battelle. The cohort spent a day at the Waterman Farm Agricultural and Natural Resources Lab on the OSU campus, then experienced the annual Farm Science Review.

The group toured Waterman and learned about the research being done there. A field work lesson showed how farmers can predict yield from kernels on ears of corn.

Lab activities on soil testing, water quality, and biofuels familiarized them with classroom science connections. A career activity exposed them to the many in-demand agriculture-related careers that need a new generation of workers.

Day 2 was a trip to Farm Science Review, where participants visited various sites to learn more about what is happening in modern agriculture.

Amanda Nothstein teaches 7th and 8th grade science at Springgrove Junior High. She appreciated the career information provided. “Just because it’s ag and farming doesn’t mean you don’t need lawyers or graphic designers—there are a lot of other associated jobs! I like the career activity we did where we put up a scenario and considered all the different people needed for different projects. I love this event! I can’t believe how much knowledge I get and how many people are willing to help!”

The Ohio Rural Education Program is designed to help teachers incorporate problem-based learning into their classrooms. Teachers have participated in webinars will highlight specific agricultural content that they can incorporate into current lessons, as well as information about agricultural careers related to the content. As an end product, they will develop a PBL unit related to a need in their community, using the engineering design process.