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Start Them Young: Agriculture at an Early Age

 You don’t have to turn far to read headlines that partner the words STEM and education, simply meaning the emphasis in curriculum and classroom activities on science, technology, engineering, and math. This curriculum priority stretches from the preschool classroom to the graduating seniors, and permeates all disciplines. Teachers are often overwhelmed trying to get the necessary curriculum covered along with the additional standards-based learning, while also providing experiences for students that are problem-based and include STEM concepts.

While at a meeting of seasoned agriculturalists the other evening, one farmer said it best "agriculture is the true STEM discipline." And how right he is! Agriculture as a subject can permeate all core disciplines as well as the STEM concepts. Need problem-based learning? Try agriculture on for size!

There are many resources out there to incorporate agriculture into curriculum, from state-level resources to national resources such as the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture and Discovering Farmland . Many resources are standards-based for easy "plug-n-play" into a classroom curriculum or pacing guide, and offer everything from traditional lesson plans to video, to online gaming.

To influence the future generations for agriculture, it needs to start in today’s elementary classrooms. If you are involved in agriculture and sense a need to help, we’ve listed some options below to get started in your community. But don’t let the list stop you! Feel free to come up with your own ideas to bring agriculture to your local students and community.

  • Many states offer an Agriculture in the Classroom (AITC) organization. If you’re in Virginia, check out their website here. If your state doesn’t have an AITC, the National AITC organization offers a searchable database for agriculture-rich resources. Find that website here.
  • Participate in your state or local Ag Literacy Week read-alouds to classrooms. Many are run by local Farm Bureau organizations; contact yours to see if they participate in this spring event.
  • Check out the Ag Kids Club, a subscription service to bring accurate agriculture to a child or group of children each month! The monthly boxes are full of agriculture-rich items to enrich a classroom.
  • Have you seen our Pinterest board?  We’ve got some great one-page resources!

Above all, if you are involved in agriculture, start a relationship with your local community schools. See how you can offer agriculture as an easy STEM solution. And if you’re in the classroom? Check out the links above to see what will fit in your classroom and curriculum.

We’re here to help! Contact the Farm Credit Knowledge Center with any questions around bringing agriculture to your school or community.

Monday, October 23, 2017
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