2009 National Excellence in Teaching about Agriculture Award
Ms. Kerra Middleton, Alabama
Throughout the year, over 300 students at Kerra Middleton's rural Title I School are immersed in lessons that teach agricultural concepts across the curriculum. In order to teach agricultural literacy, Ms. Middleton utilizes hands-on activities, literature, technology, and real-life experiences.
After learning facts about pigs, kindergarteners create a paper mache, life-size pig. To learn the origin of a product, first graders shake vigorously to turn heavy cream to butter. To extend a lesson about inventions and inventors, fourth graders research the life of George Washington Carver and make their own peanut butter.
Ms. Middleton has added a new unit to incorporate science and mathematics she learned at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center with resources she received from the state AITC conference. She has always taught lessons about the food, fuel, and fiber provided by agriculture, but now Ms.Middleton is aware of how farming truly impacts not only everyone's daily lives, but also the future. She was amazed to learn that experiments conducted on the international Space Station were directly related to agriculture, and wants to help students make this connection as well.
Ms. Middleton found that many state objectives could be integrated. As school began, their library media center was transformed into an "Ag in Space" learning area. Each lesson supported their focus of "Blast Off with Reading" tied with their Accelerated Reader program, their newly adopted reading series, and state and national standards across the curriculum.