Droning on in the classroom

(article courtesy of Ohio’s Country Journal)

By Matt Reese and Dale Minyo

Ohio’s teachers were talking agriculture at the recent 2023 Science Education Council of Ohio Science Symposium in Lewis Center.

The Ohio Soybean Council’s GrowNextGen was a major sponsor of the event, offering teachers effective methods of integrating agriculture into their lesson plans. One of the attendees was Chris Brown, a science teacher for seventh and eighth grades from Glandorf Elementary in Putnam County, who has been working with GrowNextGen in his classroom.

“My first memory with GrowNextGen is we got to go to the Farm Science Review as part of the Ohio Rural Educator Program. I was just overwhelmed by the amount of things that are involved agriculture and that just opened my eyes,” Brown said. “I thought ‘Wow, I need to get this in my classroom because I can connect it to basically everything I teach.’ I really don’t think there’s a student who couldn’t find a way to use this, no matter what career they want to do. You want to be a lawyer? Great, agriculture needs lawyers. And everybody in agriculture needs medical care. Really, any route you want to go in the future, you can connect to ag in some way or another. And, obviously, we’ve all got to eat.”

At the symposium, GrowNextGen had a large booth offering many different ways for teachers to connect with agriculture. Leah LaCrosse, Huron City Schools, has found drone technology is a great way to connect students with learning and agriculture. She was able to reconnect at the symposium for more ideas for her classes.

“My first experience with GrowNextGen was actually at a drone training. I was invited because I used drones in my science classroom. I used them teaching different physics concepts and engineering challenges and just giving the kids a different approach to learning science. I was invited as a teacher to go to that and GrowNextGen was there talking about agriculture. At first, and thought we didn’t have anything in common, but then I saw agriculture is in everything I do. GrowNextGen has lot of resources. And then it led into me a writing curriculum for them,” LaCrosse said. “The curriculum really is looking at how careers in drones can be connected to careers in agriculture and how we use technology to be more efficient in our agricultural areas. How do we use drones in a setting like that? Most of the time the students’ understanding of drones is that I can fly it around my house, upset my parents a little bit and I can take it outside get it stuck in the tree. Some kids are really into drone racing and that’s actually how I got started into it — through a drone racing league in my school. It’s fun to launch it from your backyard, but how can we use it to grow better products and to save money? The curriculum just getting them into the idea that technology and agriculture are connected. Farmers are using drones a lot, apparently, and it was awesome to get my kids into that.”

GrowNextGen is a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean checkoff.