Seeing computer science in modern ag applications at FSR

Support from the Ohio Soybean Council allowed Jeff Reinhardt, Mathematics & Computer Science Teacher at Upper Arlington High School, to take his AP Computer Science Principles class to this year’s OSU Farm Science Review. Here’s his take on the experience!

I expected the trip would open my students’ eyes to the importance of the agricultural industry in Ohio and in their own lives. I also hoped that they would see first-hand how computing innovations (a theme in our course) play a central role in agriculture today. Our trip most definitely met those goals!

Most of the students in my AP Computer Science Principles course have no direct experience with agriculture. They loved the trip and took in everything the FSR had to offer in the short time we had there. The FSR is huge—such an enormous variety of exhibitions and demonstrations! We broke the day up into three parts: group visits to two vendors (AGCO and Precision Agri Services); time for smaller student teams to explore the Review; and coming back together as a whole, we witnessed a couple of drone demonstrations. The day really flew by, and all of us would have liked to stay longer.

The extent to which computer science and farm science overlap really surprised most of my students. They learned about precision farming, GPS and telematics on tractors, irrigation system devices that collect and analyze soil data, NDVI sensors on drones, apps that measure a cow’s health, software that monitors manure nutrient levels, and much more!

The Farm Science Review gave us an amazing experience—one that helped us better understand and appreciate the agriculture industry. Looking through the lens of computer science, we also discovered many interesting and sophisticated ways in which technology, big data, and computing innovations have been revolutionizing agriculture in recent years. Exciting stuff! Our thanks go to the Ohio Soybean Council for sponsoring our trip!

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