GrowNextGen

Teaching the practicality of science in agriculture

By Matt Reese and Dale Minyo

The definition of freezing point depression is: a colligative property observed in solutions that results from the introduction of solute molecules to a solvent. Make sense?

While this definition may not immediately seem even remotely interesting or relevant, freezing point depression happens to be the concept behind salting roads to improve winter driving conditions and a key component in the development of ice cream.

“I’ll teach chemistry until I’m blue in the face and the students just stare at me. But then I can kind of trick them if we make some soy ice cream. I calculate freezing point depression with them and then the macromolecule content — that’s when it clicks with them because they’re able to associate between the two and we can have a deeper conversation. Everyone eats, so that’s how I can connect the science with their real life,” said Jennifer Foudray, a biotechnology lab instructor for the Miami Valley Career Technical Center.… Continue reading

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Increasing the yield of future agriculturalists

By Matt Reese and Dale Minyo

Farmers want to improve yields, but not just of the crops they grow on their farm.

“About 11 or 12 years ago, the soybean farmers on our board were looking for a couple things that would really make a difference. They wanted to invest in a couple of big projects. One was soybean yield — big surprise — but equally as important to our board was our education program,” said Tom Fontana, director of research and education for the Ohio Soybean Council (OSC). “They wanted to make the connection between science and agriculture in Ohio classrooms. Agriculture needs people to work in our industry and introducing students to all the aspects of agriculture and career opportunities in our industry is vitally important, as is educating them about what we do on farms.”

At the time, OSC had already been making significant investments in this area in cooperation with Jeanne Gogolski, current CEO of Education Projects, in the development of science-based school curriculum built around agriculture.… Continue reading

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