Science, math teachers and everyone in between who teach students from first grade to high school know adding fun activities to their curriculum proves to be the perfect formula to increase knowledge of agriculture in the classroom across Mississippi.
Led by the State Women’s Leadership Committee of the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation, Ag in the Classroom Workshops bring teachers from around the state together to earn continuing education credits while gaining new activities to engage their students with agriculture.
Crystal Whitfield, a sixth grade math teacher in Blue Springs, wasn’t sure what the two-day workshop would hold for her.
“I always have noticed many times where something is planted, for instance, corn,”
Whitfield says. “I thought how neat would that be if I could pull that into my classroom and pull statistics from that to educate the children on how that is grown and what the importance is? That is a direct implementation that can be used in my room.”
Even though farms cover the state, many students do not seem to notice. Linda Anglin volunteers in Lee County schools teaching Ag in the Classroom activities taught in the workshop.
“A lot of these kids live in apartments and subdivisions. They might pass a bean field or a cotton field or something, but they don’t actually know where their food comes from,” Anglin says. “It’s important for these children to know where their things come from and how it grows and why it grows.”
The Ag in the Classroom Workshop consists of two full days of classroom instruction, including hands on learning, so teachers can make classroom learning fun and interesting for students. During the second day of the workshop held in Verona, teachers learned about drones used in agriculture and farming, the importance of preventing soil erosion, and even toured a farm using sophisticated technology to grow tomatoes.
Noxubee County teacher Felix Russ hopes the technology used in farming now will open his students’ eyes to a possible career in agriculture. Russ teaches introduction to agriculture to ninth and tenth graders.
“Most students, when they come in, they strictly want to be a professional football player or want to be a scientist, but they never think about actually going into agriculture or what different avenues agriculture opens up,” Russ says. “It’s such a broad field – you almost can relate agriculture to anything that’s going on.”
For teachers like Mallory Moss, whose farm has been in her family for three generations, farming is a life-long passion, and the lessons learned in this workshop help her pass on her passion for farming to her students. She also knows not all teachers take farming as seriously as she does, but that’s okay.
“Just like when I want to do the egg hatch experiment in the classroom. I know my neighbor is not going to do that, but she will gladly send her kids to my room, and we will swap classes,” Moss says. “I will have the opportunity to share my passion for that with her and her students. So, I mean it’s just spreading it across the board.”