By Maya Hayslett and Amy Powell–Iowa State University Extension and Outreach
Iowa State University Extension and Outreach has developed a curriculum for educators who want youth to know how agriculture is involved in everyday human life. The curriculum was created by ISU Extension and Outreach 4-H youth specialists Amy Powell, department of animal science, and Maya Hayslett, integrated pest management team.
The curriculum “Agriculture Every Day” is offered as a free publication, available for download from the Iowa State University Extension store.
Agriculture Every Day incorporates teaching moments that show youth in grades four through twelve the importance of agriculture. All lessons within the curriculum follow the 4-H Experiential Learning Model and include hands-on, fun, and engaging activities. The curriculum features twelve short (twenty-thirty minute), stand-alone lessons, each focusing on a different aspect of agricultural science. Lessons then apply the concepts to everyday life and show how such concepts may go overlooked. Six of the lessons focus on animal science and six focus on crop science.
“We think that these lessons will be useful for educators looking for short, easy lessons about agriculture,” Hayslett said. “Agriculture is an important part of Iowa culture and its economy but is often not explained in understandable ways. We designed this curriculum for youth to better illustrate how and why agriculture is important to the state, the region, and the nation.”
Lessons in the curriculum are meant to be a sampling of different agricultural science topics. Each lesson can be taught on its own or combined with others. Each lesson includes the appropriate target grade level, educational goals, educational standards addressed, materials needed, and directions for set-up and implementation of the lesson.
Through program activities, youth will gain awareness of the daily importance of agriculture. Youth will also gain life skills in teamwork, organization, and observation. These lessons can help youth who have a limited understanding of agriculture begin to appreciate and gain an interest in agriculture. For youth with a background in agriculture, these lessons can reinforce and illustrate complex topics they might not have understood, as well as broaden the horizons of career opportunities.