Ag teachers learn lab skills

Whitney Short and Courtney Bockbrader, both agriculture education teachers at Anthony Wayne Schools, recently conducted two biotechnology workshops for other agriculture education teachers at the Ohio Ag Ed Summer Conference.

Short and Bockbrader both serve as teacher leaders who develop curricular units and classroom materials for a website called GrowNextGen is an online network of more than 400 teachers, industry partners and students who are interested in real-life, soybean-related applications to science and agriscience topics. The site provides members with access to eLearning courses, career videos and curricular units to match state science standards.

The workshops began with an introduction to and some of the curricular units. Short said, “We hope the teachers who attended the workshops will use the resources to begin teaching biotechnology in the traditional agriculture classroom.”

Bockbrader said she and Short “instructed the teachers on the skills necessary to conduct more lab-based instruction (like those found on in their classrooms.” Attendees practiced their micropipetting skills and the use of standard lab equipment. Furthermore, attendees conducted a laboratory by creating a homemade gel electrophoresis chamber and separating candy dyes.

A key component of the workshop was to share the GrowNextGen Equipment Kit that is available for all teachers to use. This kit allows teachers to use labs in the classroom without needing to purchase all of the equipment. Teachers interested in using the kit can e-mail or, or they can check the kit out using this Google Calendar. The kit is available for no charge, but must be picked up and dropped off at Anthony Wayne High School.