Introduces cat-ion exchange and pH of the soil, scouting as a necessary component of farming, the anatomy of plants how those parts play a role in nutrient uptake, and the chemistry of macro- and micronutrients.
Illustrates the flow of energy that is needed for plant growth, addresses the cycling of matter, the stages of growth and development of corn and soybeans, and the importance of water and temperature as it applies to growth and development.
Illustrates the different products that are added to fields that encourage the plants’ growth and development, defines the term precision agriculture, explains the federal laws the govern the application of fertilizers and pesticides, and categorizes the use of pesticides in the form of insecticides, herbicides and fungicides.
Shows how applications are made to a field, discusses the importance of Nutrient Stewardship, and outlines the necessary aspects of proper application using liquid sprayers
Describes the types of nozzles that can be used on a sprayer, discusses the over and under application of chemicals, introduces students to the term drift and persistence of chemicals in the environment. Students calculate 1) values for spray tip geometry and 2) calculate and graph spray pressure volumes.
Simulation requires students to work on a fictitious farm and determine the right herbicide for their crops and the right tip for the application of their herbicide.
The topic of agriculture is one that takes up little time in the normal scope and sequence of most classrooms these days. It may in fact be one of the most important concepts that can be taught to students because of the many practical applications and the impact that it has on our lives and our food security.
Effects on the Economy: According to the US Department of Agriculture, agriculture contributes in large part to the US economy. Here are just a few examples of the impact agriculture has:
Effects on the Labor Force: According to the US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/cps/cpsaat15.htm#cpseeannemp_ agnonagcow.f.1) the total number of workers employed in U.S. agriculture-related jobs in 2014, was more than 2.3 million people. The jobs that they held included agriculture and food scientists, food science technicians, agricultural workers, agricultural inspectors, agricultural managers and agricultural engineers, who are improving technology to allow farmers to be more precise and efficient.
Crop growth is based on the right nutrients being available to the plant at the right time. These nutrients, along with energy from the sun and moisture in the ground, are constantly on the minds of farmers. Although sprayers are not new technology, they are changing as precision agriculture continues to grow in usage. Farmers desire better control of the chemical applications and companies like TeeJet.com are working to provide the tools to do the job.
Lately, water quality issues have gained increased coverage in the media. This coverage and recent events have begun to lead to increased regulations. Farmers, always invested in maintaining soil and water quality for themselves and their neighbors, are increasingly pressed to understand the process of applying the right chemical, in the right amount, at the right time, and in the right place to assure that the production environment has optimum growing conditions without creating adverse effects to the environment.
*A threaded PBL provides a way in which content knowledge is developed over the scope of a class that culminates in a real life problem and is relevant to a real world problem. The sequence is not based on a textbook; it is based on what has been deemed an appropriate sequence that exposes students to the content necessary: in this case, a college preparatory Environmental Science or AP Environmental Science class, yet it could be applied to many other classes, as well.
Precision agriculture is an important tool in helping to feed a growing population. The GrowNextGen curriculum “Managing Nutrient Needs in Agriculture” gives students many opportunities to look at inputs and make informed decisions based on that data. Using this kit, students can examine different sprayer heads, test their choice of nozzle, and see how and why different nozzles are used for different herbicide applications, based on crop size and the way the herbicides attack weeds.
In the Herbicide Management Simulation, students use a sprayer on a cart to test the spray pattern on the sidewalk. This activity is the culmination of a threaded PBL integrating agriculture into Environmental Science classrooms. This kit will allow an authentic assessment of the students’ decisions and learning.