How should high school agriculture courses be designed for today’s students and schools?
It would be wonderful to see a world where more students have the opportunity to enroll in an agricultural education program… A world where teachers are able to spend more time teaching and focusing on students and less time concerned about what they should be preparing for the next week or even the next period… A world where teachers love to teach and students love to learn… This world is possible with the Curriculum for Agricultural Science Education (CASE™) initiative that will begin field testing this fall.
CASE is curriculum written by agriculture educators for agriculture educators. Teachers and industry representatives from a dozen states collectively contributed to the concepts that framed the content for the two foundation courses. The changes CASE offers the world of education in Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (AFNR) include a complete curriculum package that is aligned with content standards for AFNR and science, mathematics and English language arts. With this new and enhanced program delivery model for secondary agricultural education, you have the opportunity to:
- Reach more students, including more diverse student populations, while encouraging the expansion of agricultural education in larger suburban and urban schools.
- Provide an instructional program that is aligned with core academic standards and enhances student achievement in science, mathematics and English language arts.
- Attract high-achieving students into a science-based agricultural education program with the goal of channeling these talented students into science-oriented majors in colleges of agriculture.
- Respond to the shortfall of scientists for the industry of agriculture by stimulating greater interest in agricultural science.
- Combine the power of current student leadership development, experiential learning, and problem-based learning opportunities in agriculture with an enhanced delivery model that has greater potential for 1) increasing the number of agricultural education programs and 2) advancing student achievement.
- Enhance leadership, teamwork, and the problem solving skills of future scientists in the industry of agriculture.
- Provide an alternative model for Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) programs for students living in larger suburban and urban settings with SAE connections in lessons.
- Provide the opportunity to assess student learning in AFNR programs and be able to report objective data to internal and external partners.
- Increase the retention of agriculture educators with a program model that reduces workload and allows the teacher to concentrate more on the students and less on curriculum development and organization.
CASE elevates student learning by immersing them in rigorous curricula that fosters success throughout all student populations, including challenging the brightest students. The biggest pedagogical change CASE promotes is in the mode of teaching by utilizing an activity-, project- and problem-based approach to learning. This modality minimizes “teacher-centered” instruction and allows students to explore learning through the use of activities, projects and problems.
The two foundation courses, Principles of Agricultural Science – Animal™ and the Principles of Agricultural Science - Plant™, will be available nationwide in 2010. Each course is designed for a 175-day academic year and provides integrated connections with FFA, SAE and LifeKnowledge. The sequence of instruction beyond the foundation courses includes:
- Animal and Plant Biotechnology
- Agriculture Systems and Technology
- Food Science and Safety
- Natural Resources Environmental Sciences
- Agricultural Sciences Research and Development (Capstone)
For more information on the CASE model, visit www.case4learning.org or contact your Agricultural Education State Supervisor.