2007 National Excellence in Teaching about Agriculture Award
Ms. Marie Gardner, Utah
Marie Gardner's second-grade students at River Heights Elementary in Utah do not simply learn about agriculture during Agriculture Week; they have the opportunity to experience it on a weekly basis.
In science, students examined the lifecycle of plants and animals, and analyzed the interactive relationship between bees and flowers. Each student had the opportunity to be a meteorologist when a camera was set up to show a live weather report via Internet. Students predicted how the weather would affect crops and livestock. Social studies lessons included research on different breads consumed throughout the world.
Students developed mapping skills as they spoke with a truck driver every 24 hours via telephone and mapped his route as he transported a shipment of peaches from Georgia to their final destination in Idaho. Students gained an understanding of basic economic principles when growing pumpkins for profit. In math, students taste tested milk, gathering, and analyzing data. One of the most memorable days involved measuring milk into bottles and feeding calves.
Students were able to learn about life on the farm as they exchanged letters with a farmer. As the reply letters arrived, the students need to know about farm life increased dramatically. When a veterinarian came to our classroom, he had a direct impact on broadening the students' potential career choices. Their aspirations now expand beyond basketball players and ballerinas—they want to be veterinarians!
"The Food, Land, & People online course rekindled my passion for teaching agriculture and provided the tools to teach it effectively" stated Marie. "With each agricultural connection, I see the sparkle of discovery in the eyes of my students. I am constantly assured that integrating agriculture is truly a marvelous addition to our daily quest for knowledge."