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Getting to know the versatility of soybeans

By attending the Ohio Soybean Council-sponsored Ag Biotech Academy workshop, Jamie Brown was able to share information about agriculture, soybeans, and careers with 6th grade students at Miami East Junior High.

Brown’s students completed the Global Ag Ready-made Resource, researching ways soybeans play a part in the global environment. For this assignment, Brown created a vocabulary page where students recorded the definitions of the terms presented. Students completed part 1 of the lesson independently as they watched the video and answered questions about the uses of soybeans, careers, exports, etc. Then the class as a whole discussed their findings.

For part 2, student groups were assigned an agricultural company, using that company’s website to pull information about its role in soybeans and the global economy. The class discussed student findings on different products companies created and/or sold that somehow utilized soy beans.

Brown said her students began with a general understanding of soybeans from class discussions about growing soybeans, what soil pH is productive for growing soybeans, etc. Through the Global Ag activity, students were better able to grasp all the ways soybeans play a part in their lives. Brown utilized the “Uses of Soybeans” poster she’d received during the workshop. She said, “My students were very surprised to see a variety of products!”

Brown said, “My students live in a fairly rural area and most are familiar with farming but don’t really understand where the crops go besides feeding animals at the farm. Through the use of this video and their research, they were able to broaden their horizons and see that not only is there a variety of products made of soybeans, soybeans from Ohio farms are traveling around the world to meet the global demand for soy-based products.

“Many students were interested as they investigated careers, like plant manager, and the salary and duties that came along with that. It was also very cool to see a few students research companies their parents work for and how soybeans have an impact on those companies. In the future, I would like students to further investigate the commerce part of soybeans and utilize their research from company websites to create a poster or presentation to share with the class. It was not only beneficial for my students to see how soybeans play a crucial role in their life but also the variety of careers and companies that utilize soybeans.”

This activity fit well into state objectives, as students must look at ways that rocks, minerals, and soil are used, since soil is primarily utilized for farming throughout Ohio. “By looking at things that are grown, such as soybeans, and the products created from things we grow,” Brown said, “students are able to see that soil has a much bigger impact than just what they’re eating for dinner tonight. Students start to see that without soil and soybeans, many of the necessities and comforts that they enjoy in everyday life would be gone.”

Brown said she enjoyed the workshop as it gave her great ideas on incorporating agriculture into her classroom. She appreciated the opportunity to get a deeper understanding of biodiesel production and uses, the opportunity to use electrophoresis, and the comparison of DNA between a variety of living things. “Additionally, having Kyle Poling explain what companies such as Pioneer are doing in the field of agriculture helped me share that information with my students. Overall, it was wonderful to feel challenged as I learned new ways to incorporate agriculture and soybean uses into my sixth grade soil curriculum.”

Brown’s message to the Ohio Soybean Council? “I am thankful for GREAT professional development that focuses on challenging teachers to get students excited about agriculture. I have shared many resources with other teachers in my building and district. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for the training and supplies you provide teachers to help students learn and grow!”

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