8 WAYS TO INCORPORATE A FARMER INTO YOUR EVERYDAY CLASSROOM

Have you ever had a student say “Why are we learning this? I will never use this.” Or have you as a teacher just wanted to spice up your everyday lesson plans and have someone else come in and explain/show how this topic can be used on a day to day basis? There is a solution for you! A Farmer!  Here are just 8 simple ways a farmer can come in and make a topic come to life!

#1 Color

Have every Friday be a different color theme. For example one Friday have your color be Green and have a farmer come in as a special guest and tell the class about all the types of green things that are on their farm!

#2 Fractions

Invite a farmer to come in and do a math lesson about fractions with your students. Ask the farmer to explain why he uses fractions on his farm and how it helps them to determine how much each field makes.

#3 Animals

In a science unit talking about animals invite a farmer to come in and tell the class about the animals they have on the farm and what they are used for. Maybe even ask the farmer if he can bring a small animal into your classroom or see if your class can visit the farm and see the animals live in action!

#4 Transportation

Doing a Unit about different types of transportation? Have a farmer come in and talk about all the types of equipment they have on the farm like lawn mowers, combines, tractors, etc. and what they are used for. If your area is accessible maybe invite a farmer to bring a piece of equipment to the school and take a mini field trip outside so students can physically see what it is!

#5 Food

Invite a gardener to come into your classroom and talk about the types of fruits/vegetables he or she grows in their garden. Have the gardener explain what they grow and why they grow it. Also have the gardener explain to students why fruits and vegetables are very healthy for them to eat!

#6 Weather

Ask a grain farmer to come into your classroom and talk about how weather effects the outcome of what they grow. For example: without rain corn cannot grow and without corn some foods that we eat, like corn flakes, cannot be made.

#7 Reading

In your designated reading time of the day have a farmer come in and explain to your class how they have to read newspaper, magazines, and articles practically daily to learn about new inventions being created, trends in their business, and rules they need to follow.

#8 Pilgrims and Indians

When discussing pilgrims and Indians in your history lesson ask a farmer to come in and talk about how the ways of creating food have drastically changed over time and the technology they use to help them now. Ask the farmer if they can possibly bring in a piece of technology and show the class how it works!

abby jacobsAbby Jacobs
Joliet Junior College Student

LETTER OF APPRECIATION: THANK YOU AG TEACHERS!

Did you know this week is National Write a Letter of Appreciation Week? If you’d like to write a letter to a farmer, rancher, parent, grandparent, etc… we’d like to feature it here on our blog! Send your letters to ilcorn@ilcorn.org and we’ll also throw in a special gift for taking part!

Today’s letter comes from Coleen Bedford of Shoals, Indiana:

Dear Ag Teachers,

Thank you for pouring your life into the future of agriculture. Thank you for the early mornings, and late nights. Thank you for sincerely caring about each and every one of your students, and making your FFA chapter like a family. Thank you for being a listening ear, and a shoulder to cry on. Thank you for believing in your students, and doing whatever you can to help them achieve their goals. Thank you for teaching us not just how to fix fence and judge a dairy cow, but also to be honest, humble, and to persevere. Above all, thanks for making a difference in the lives of your students.

Coleen G. Bedford

student and ag teacher
Coleen Bedford with ag teacher Logan Felts

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 everyday 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 the main ideal. Why not keep it that way?

Katlyn PieperKatie Pieper
Illinois State University student