GrowNextGen

Commodity Classic equips science teachers with ag insight

By Matt Reese and Dale Minyo

Commodity Classic brings farmers together from all over the country to learn, and it is also a great place for teachers to learn about the agricultural practices they are integrating into their classrooms.

Through the generosity of the Ohio soybean farmers and their checkoff, and the GrowNextGen program, many Ohio teachers have gotten the opportunity to travel to Commodity Classic to see first-hand the innovation and technology that goes into producing crops on America’s farms.

Kelly Lewis, the program instructor for bioscience technologies at Eastland-Fairfield Career and Technical Schools, was among around 50 other teachers from across the country who attended the 2024 Commodity Classic to learn more about modern agriculture.

“It was pretty amazing. They told me to bring an extra suitcase, and I’m really glad I did because I brought a lot back for my students. It was great to connect with growers and learn about different aspects of the industry.… Continue reading

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Growing beans and farming on screens

By Matt Reese and Dale Minyo

Anyone who grew up in an agricultural setting understands the countless opportunities to learn on a farm. Unfortunately, though, the vast majority of students today do not get the chance to grow up in agriculture. Fortunately for those students, GrowNextGen is able to bring agriculture to their classrooms.

“I was really looking for a way for my students to learn about life science through authentic means. We talk all the time about collecting data and being good scientists in the classroom but it’s hard to actually make it happen,” said Kayla Mintz, 8th grade science teacher at Gahanna Middle School East in Franklin County. “Now we have 5-gallon buckets and we are actively growing soybeans. The students are testing height, how many leaves, the types of flowers. They are conducting their own research and collecting data on the soybean plants and learning all of our life science standards through that and we keep adding to it.… Continue reading

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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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