HOW DOES AG FIT INTO MY CLASSROOM?

So you are a teacher in a school that does not support FFA or an agricultural curriculum program. You are probably thinking, “Cows and tractors have nothing to do with my classroom. There would be no way to bring that into my teaching.”  Well, think again. Granted, the physical composition of the cow’s stomachs is pretty interesting, but it does not have to be that complicated.

holstein, milk cow, mom and babyQuestion:  In November of this year, a farmer has 5 cows that are due to have babies in March of next year. By April, how many cows will the farmer have? Answer:  10 cows. What just happened? That is a question with agriculture incorporated into it! Put pictures of cows with the question, and you have kids learning two things at once. Yes, this is kind of a remedial question, really for elementary children, but these kinds of questions can be designed for any grade level.

There are so many wonderful resources that can help you incorporate agriculture into your personal curriculums. Here are just a few:

Other resources available would be associations within your state, such as  Corn Growers, Beef Association, Pork Producers, and just about anything else. Just Google it! Everything agriculture will be at your fingertips. Most of these associations already have lesson plans, ready to use, for you on their website. All you have to do is download, or call them and they can send it to you. It is as easy as pie, which is also made from all things agriculture! It really cannot get much easier than that.

There are other ideas for incorporating agriculture into your classroom. If you do not want to use it in your math or science lessons, try having your students write a paper. It does not have to be all that extensive, and would be perfect for any grade level. Have each student write a paper, giving each student a different career to research. Then, have each student read his or her paper, or just summarize it with the class. With one career per person, everyone can learn about many different careers they may not have known existed.

Careers in agriculture are not always as different from a career outside of agriculture as you may think. Accounting, for example; it is all the same concepts, just with different subjects and a few different rules. Teaching:  most of the same requirements as any other teacher, you just get to teach a diverse array of topics. Even other areas, such as horticulture, are heavily influenced by agriculture, although you  may not realize it. From growing corn to growing watermelons, they all include agriculture, from necessary nutrients to sun exposure, every plant needs someone to take care of it.

In the end, incorporating agriculture is not really as hard as it may sound. Any student can benefit from having this in their every day classroom. From a simple math lesson, to a research paper, it is all beneficial for the growing minds of our future leaders. Our country was founded with agriculture being a main ideal. Why not keep it that way?

Katlyn PieperKatie Pieper
Illinois State University student

2 thoughts on “HOW DOES AG FIT INTO MY CLASSROOM?”

  1. Yes, indeed! Helping teachers incorporate agriculture into what they already need to teach is my job. About your 5 cows example, though…. I tend to think like a kid, so my first thought was what if one of them has twins, or a calf dies? Thinking more technically, if those five cows each have one calf, now the farmer has five cows and five calves (which may be bulls or heifers), not ten cows. Perhaps I’m being overly nit-picky, but in ag literacy especially, oversimplification can lead to misconceptions later on. There is no reason why a simple math problem that introduces agriculture can’t also teach real science. And, even young children are capable of learning the correct terminology and understanding the difference between cows and calves. Never underestimate the capacity of children to learn true facts about agriculture!

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