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GrowNextGen teacher leader

Mary James

Science teacher at McCormick Junior High School

James can be contacted about these topics: 3D printing, drone racing, classroom management strategies, project-based learning, STEM/ STEAM clubs, and coding resources. She would like to collaborate on creating curriculum that ties agriculture, technology, STEM connections, and local ag leaders together, for students with little or no agricultural awareness to experience and explore agriculture.

What about teaching excites you?

The most exciting part of teaching is my role as a facilitator. I help to lead students down pathways to connect their school and life experiences with opportunities in education and careers. With our evolving global community and the addition of new technologies all the time, teaching and learning stays fresh, relevant, and follows the changing paradigms of education.

What was your “aha” moment when you realized the value of using agriculture as a vehicle to teach science?

I knew agricultural connections could be a valuable way to connect students to STEM when polling my students revealed their lack of knowledge about the farming industry. Besides knowledge of the water cycle and what students learn about soil through cycles of nature, they are limited as to knowing what types of conditions have to be controlled to have successful yields. The Commodity Classic 2019 experience opened a window to the world of agriculture that I will have the students explore. I want them to follow how food and products in their everyday lives go from seed to store, home, and global exports. Tying Social Studies in with the science will help to teach about commodities, tariffs, supply and demand, and government as well.

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