Educators use interdisciplinary approach with soybeans

Jane Hunt, an environmental science teacher at Upper Arlington High School, partnered with industry professionals and colleagues to educate her students on real-life applications to the agricultural industry and career possibilities for their future.

Working with algebra teacher Erin Mayne, Hunt demonstrated how agriculture and mathematics can work together in a potential job scenario. Hunt invited a representative from Sherwin Williams Paint Company to educate students about the use of soy-based oil in paints. Mayne then used algebra equations to demonstrate how Sherwin Williams determines the appropriate soy oil-to-paint ratio to create the best solution for each product. This exercise demonstrated the application of mathematical problem solving and agricultural knowledge in a potential future career.

Hunt also partnered with desktop design teacher, Donna Cornwell, and marketing teacher, Eva Frustaci, to demonstrate how a career in agriculture doesn’t have to be strictly science related. Hunt invited Dustin Homan, a representative from The Ohio State University’s Ohio Bioproducts Innovation Center, to speak to her class about bio-based products manufactured by a company called SoySolv. Hunt and Cornwell’s students worked together to create new marketing ideas for multiple SoySolv products. They designed new packaging and logos and made recommendations on product placement in a store. Once completed, they sent their ideas to Frustaci’s marketing class for feedback.

“It’s a great example of science teachers working with teachers in the humanities. The students enjoyed working with each other and seeing how you can do anything and be connected to the agricultural industry,” stated Hunt. Hunt plans to send the new packaging design to SoySolv for review by the end of summer.

Hunt found many ideas for her classroom on She said, “ offers such a wide range of topics for curriculum. I used the curriculum as a starting point for connecting with industry. The more teachers can connect students to industry, the more prepared our students will be for choosing a career path. Agriculture has a lot of options, so we need to show students the possibilities.”