Agriculture Education aff plans/Drafts



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Ag Shortage in STEM Now



There is a shortage of agricultural students in STEM now


Bloom, Curriculum for Agricultural Education Science Education Plant Pathway Coordinator & Eddy, agricultural education teacher at Southeast Polk High School in Pleasant Hill, Iowa, 16

(Melanie and Matthew, 5/16/16, The Agricultural Education Magazine,” Securing STEM Dollars for CASE and Agricultural Education.” ProQuest, P. 25, Accessed 6/30/17, GDI JMo)

The following points were used to underscore the relation- ship between agricultural educa- tion and STEM education.


  • The greatest challenge that confronts our generation is to feed a rapidly growing global population that will rise from seven billion to nine billion by 2050.” (STEM Food & Ag Council Report, 2014).

  • “An average of 35,400 new U.S. graduates with expertise in food, agriculture, renew- able natural resources, or the environment are expected to fill 61% of the expected 57,900 average annual open- ings.” (Goecker et al, 2015).

  • Agriculture has been hobbled in this challenge by a lack of quali ed candidates. “We are not producing nearly enough of these professionals to meet industry demand – which continues to grow year over year.” (STEM Food & Ag Council Report, 2014).

  • Agriculture career fields are chronically short of quali- fied candidates for their open positions - thousands of can- didates short,” (STEM Food & Ag Council Report, 2014) which doesn’t take into ac- count retirements.

  • Answering the call requires us to develop a human capital pipeline that will invigorate America’s scientific, techno- logical and business leader- ship in food and agriculture so that we can lead the way to global food security.” (STEM Food & Ag Council Report, 2014).

[Note: CASE = Curriculum for Agricultural Science Education]

STEM Shortage Now



STEM shortage now


Swanson, the chairman and CEO of a defense contractor company called Raytheon, Kelly, the Editor and Chief Content Officer of U.S. News & World Report, 14

[William and Brian, 4/23/14, U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT, “STEM Proficiency: A Key Driver of Innovation, Economic Growth and National Security”, https://www.usnews.com/news/stem-index/articles/2014/04/23/stem-proficiency-a-key-driver-of-innovation-economic-growth-and-national-security, accessed 6/30/17, JBC]

STEM: what a terrible acronym. It’s one of those awkward labels that become accepted shorthand for a wonky policy topic because no one can figure out a better way to say it. But don’t let clunkiness obscure significance. STEM is also an under appreciated, and troubling, component of the U.S. economy. The real meaning behind “STEM” is the mismatch between supply and demand in a key part of the country’s labor pipeline. The demand for the many jobs requiring STEM skills—science, technology, engineering and math—is outstripping the supply, and the problem will only get worse.

That’s what we found when we crunched the numbers in the first-ever STEM Index, a basket of data measuring the state of STEM jobs and education since 2000. We wanted to impose some metrics on a much-discussed but ill-defined subject that has become a concern for most major industries in the U.S. STEM proficiency is a key driver of innovation, economic growth and ultimately national security. For instance, some of the most coveted and scarce skills today are in the fields of cybersecurity.

But STEM is not just about tech companies. It’s not just about people who wear lab coats. STEM skills are needed in the many millions of jobs that will have to be filled in sectors such as energy, manufacturing, food production and perhaps most significantly, health care. What industry does not need more workers with science and math know-how? And not just at the high end. Having STEM skills could mean making it into the middle class, or not.

Going back to studies like the seminal “Rising Above the Gathering Storm” report of 2005, the problem has been a focus of much attention. But we wanted to add some new rigor by creating a unique set of data that looked at how the U.S. has fared in tackling this supply-demand challenge. We plotted dozens of statistics that measured student test performance, aptitude, and interest against job demand (read the full methodology). The result is a 14-year average that tells an important part of the STEM story, with limits. Our new benchmark, the U.S. News/Raytheon STEM Index, is a starting point that’s meant to lead to deeper discussions, and ultimately solutions. And of course any broad-based graph can only tell you so much; the analyses behind the component parts are ultimately the most revealing.



What the numbers tell us is that the country has made little progress on a problem we’ve seen coming for a long time. Despite growing job demand, the pipeline of talent is weak and will remain that way for at least a decade if nothing changes. There are some recent glimmers of hope, reflected in an uptick over the past two years, but they are coming from a select part of the population. Our top-line data, supported by other studies, shows that some portion of white males, along with Americans of Asian descent, are increasingly drawn to STEM subjects, while those who represent the bulk of the future labor pool—women, Latinos and African-Americans—are showing disproportionately little interest.

The increased demand for STEM skills is evident despite a key shortcoming in the STEM Index: our need to rely on federal government data. Using the sometimes out-of-date definitions of what is a STEM job, the Index still charts a 30 percent growth, from 12.8 million in 2000 to 16.8 million in 2013. More granular estimates put actual jobs requiring STEM skills at as much as 50 percent of the job market. We’ll be refining that and other data for next year’s edition.

Among the biggest problems surfaced in the STEM Index:

Between 2000 and 2013, an average of 37.6 percent of high school males reported having interest in at least one of the STEM disciplines, vs. 14.8 percent of females.

In 2013, the average SAT math score for white students was 534, compared to 461 for Hispanic students and 429 for black students. The average ACT science scores were 22 for whites, 18.8 for Hispanic students and 16.9 for black students.

As high school students’ interest in STEM has waned, their scores on international assessments like PISA have also dropped. In 2000, the average U.S. PISA math score was 493. In 2012, that score dropped to 481. Relative to other developed countries, we remain near the back of the pack.

STEM may be a simple label, but the problem it speaks for is deeply complex. Why do fourth-grade girls sour on math? Teacher prep programs ignore science training? University curriculums wash out too many talented students? The solutions require the interaction of industry, academia, government and non-profits.

There is work being done in all these areas, but the evidence suggests it is not enough. Better awareness and more-realistic assessments are important next steps. This new STEM Index is a start.


STEM Integration Low Now



STEM connection underdeveloped


Mercier, former Senate Agriculture Committee Chief Economist & Farm Journal Foundation Director of Policy and Advocacy, 15

[Stephanie, July 2015, AGree, “Food and Agricultural Education in the United States”, http://www.foodandagpolicy.org/sites/default/files/AGree_Food%20and%20Ag%20Ed%20in%20the%20US_0.pdf, p. 11-12, accessed 6-26-17, AFB]

STEM

In recent years, there have been some scattered efforts to connect agricultural education with Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) disciplines and the broader STEM movement that links student learning to integrated projects that address real world challenges. There is a sense that the real world nature of food and agriculture lends itself to this learning model and that agriculture education should capitalize on the STEM focus in education. But based on an assessment of publicly available programs and resources, this seemingly natural connection has yet to be fully realized.

NAAE provides agricultural educators a process and products that integrate STEM education through their CASE Curriculum. CASE includes specific content pathways that cut across STEM disciplines to allow educators to connect agriculture and science through instruction, exploration, and activities. CASE is supported through professional development and NAAE’s Communities of Practice.55

STEMconnector was established in 2011 by a consortium of companies, non-profits, and professional societies to try to provide a central clearing house for institutions and efforts involved in enhancing STEM education in the United States.56 One of their projects, the Food and Ag Council, consisting of top officials from the public and private sectors in agriculture, released a report at the 2014 World Food Prize events in Iowa in October 2014 that highlighted some of the employment opportunities that will be available in the sector over the next decade or so.57 That report focused on the Millennial Generation that is now in college, but recommends that the movement to interest young people in agricultural science disciplines start long before that decision is made. There is a limited selection of STEM resources available on the NAITCO website58 and in a handful of states, such as Georgia, Oregon, and Minnesota.

Ag Key to Effective STEM



Integrating agricultural education makes STEM education more effective and bolsters vital critical thinking skills


Elliott, Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools, Director of STEM, 16

(Kristopher, 8/25/2016, The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture, “Is Ag the Answer to STEM?”, http://www.agfoundation.org/news/is-ag-the-answer-to-stem, Accessed 6/28/17, VB)

There is no doubt that STEM has become a hot topic in education. Teaching science and math with a silo approach does not reflect the real world, and often falls short of giving students the ability to problem solve as critical thinkers; a vital skill set business and industry are becoming more and more vocal about. Moreover, the interest in STEM has started to materialize in the form of grants, private funding opportunities and block funding to many schools and districts across the country.

With all of this interest, it can seem like a no brainer to move toward more purposeful STEM instruction, but this is easier said than done. If you’ve ever done a search for STEM curriculum you will quickly find that the problem is not a lack of information. It is actually quite the opposite; your browser will be full of lessons, resources and activities, often to the point it becomes overwhelming. Additionally, cherry picking cool lessons without a comprehensive approach to STEM instruction can cause confusion among students - they need to know where it all fits together in a way that connects to their own lives.

Agriculture may be the answer.

One thing is for certain, in order to survive, your students need food, fiber, and shelter - all of which are provided by agriculture. Surprisingly though, most students don't seem to make that connection, and furthermore, many teachers don’t recognize how agriculture can be a useful context to teach STEM. But without an agricultural background, how do teachers use this context as a teaching tool? How does an urban educator connect students with agriculture when many of them are generations removed from the farm and live far from production areas? The answer is pretty simple actually: Know the resources available to you. Organizations like the American Farm Bureau Foundation, Agriculture in the Classroom Organization, and Beef Checkoff, offer numerous resources for teachers to incorporate agriculture and STEM concepts into the classroom. For example, when discussing genetics with students, teachers can explore how purposeful selection of breeding stock in beef animals has helped produce leaner animals with more efficient feed conversion ratios. Additionally, science, engineering, and technology has produced equipment that can sort sperm cells in order to produce female offspring, which are much more valuable to beef breeders. And if ethical concerns arise in such discussions, the use of socioscientific issues can help guide discussion of how ethics keep up with our scientific and technological developments.

The technological advancements in agriculture, particularly with regard to sustainability, GPS, and computers, are staggering. For example, computers and software can help farmers more precisely apply fertilizers, leading to less waste and potential runoff. Modern tractors drive themselves, can call the service technician when they need maintenance, and even give their exact location so the technician will have precise directions. With all of this in mind, teachers will find just a few clicks can help them locate lessons rooted in agriculture that have standards based scientific, mathematical, technological and engineering applications. Agriculture is a great option for teachers to engage students in STEM concepts in a way that directly and indirectly impact their lives.

Integration with STEM allows US agriculture to solve food shortages


Blythe, West Virginia University Agricultural and Extension Education and Center for Excellence in STEM Education Assistant Professor, 15

(Jessica, March/April 2015, Agricultural Education Magazine, “Can the BUZZ around STEM Education Help Answer Agriculture’s Global Challenge?”, Volume: 87, Number 5, http://www.naae.org/profdevelopment/magazine/archive_issues/Volume87/Mar-Apr_2015.pdf, p. 4 Accessed 6/30/17, VB)



It has been identified as one of the world’s greatest challenges: How can the agricultural industry feed an already hungry global population which is estimated to jump from seven to nine billion by 2050? (STEM Food and Agriculture Council, 2014). This challenge must be met by agriculturalists who can develop new innovative ideas to meet the demand, while conserving our land and water which are essential to agricultural practices.

The importance of agricultural education has never been more evident. It is essential to cultivate a generation of students who have the drive and desire, as well as the knowledge and skills, to pursue answers to the questions that will arise out of this challenge.

It seems that wherever there is a discussion of education nowadays, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) drops into the conversation. The buzz around STEM education has become a focus for legislation, funding, and public debate in the various realms of education.

Some see STEM education as the answer to ensure a competent and qualified workforce which will strengthen the American economy. Others are concerned that we as a society are putting too much educational focus on STEM initiatives. Does the focus on STEM education stifle the creative thinking and artistic development of our youth? Are students preparing for jobs in STEM that may not actually exist in the future? No matter your perspectives of STEM, few would negate the positive thread of focused critical thinking and problem solving skills which are evident in the classrooms of each STEM discipline.

It seems that much of the buzz being generated around STEM are the new or improved methods of teaching STEM concepts. These are things that we as agricultural educators have been doing for decades. Problem-based learning: Check. Students getting career experiences outside of schools: Check. Creating close connections between programs and local industries: Check. Giving assignments a ‘real-life’ context: Check. Focus on college and career readiness: Check.

Educators in non-ag areas are surprised at what is taught in our agricultural curriculums. The idea that we teach science, math, and reading concepts (sometimes all in the same lesson) in our classrooms is often met with disbelief. Emphasizing STEM in agricultural education isn’t about changing what we teach or drastically how we teach, but about increasing our communication with other realms of education and using a common language to describe what happens in our programs. Having educators from other content areas become familiar with how agricultural education works will only help to strength our programs and build support within all school communities.

The emphasis on science in agricultural education has been a part of educational reform since the US industrial revolution and it is time to also emphasize the other individual STEM disciplines as well. Continuing to emphasizing STEM education initiatives within our existing agricultural education frameworks can provide that next generation of agriculturalists who are able to make strong connections between the STEM disciplines and the agricultural industries. The goal of preparing young minds with a broad range of scientific and engineering skills, with the technological and mathematical ability to manage the large scale programs can help the agricultural industry meet the challenges.

Ag education reinforces STEM literacy – especially in applied science


Henry, Purdue University Office of Multicultural Programs graduate research assistant, et al, 14

(Kesha A., Brian Allen Talbert, Purdue University College of Agriculture Department of Youth Development and Agricultural Education Professor, Pamala V. Morris, Purdue University College of Agriculture Assistant Dean/Director of the Office of Multicultural Programs, 2014, Journal of Agricultural Education, “Agricultural Education in an Urban Charter School: Perspectives and Challenges.” Volume 55 issue 2, http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1122353.pdf, p. 94, Accessed 6/28/17, GDI - JMo)

C2: Participants emphasized science and technology as a curriculum and school focus highlighting how agricultural science courses enhanced this focus. Participants saw agricultural science courses as integral to the students’ understanding of science and technology along with awareness of higher education opportunities and careers in these fields. They also saw these efforts influencing how the broader community viewed agriculture. Mr. Brooks noted the relationship between agriculture and the school focus.

I would really like to see my students take biology, chemistry and both ALS [Advanced Life Science] courses through the rest of their years...I want them to have four years of science. I want them to have Project Lead the Way courses that have to do with bioengineering, biotechnology and those things and then that whole Ag pathway...from fundamentals down to the ALS courses...and agribusiness could be one of those courses as well... but I think that gives you well-rounded students. Are all of them going to be happy with that pathway in agriculture? Maybe not...but again that’s the focus of our school...that’s what drives what we do... so that’s the framework that we are kinda following.

Mr. Brown noted the school’s vision was to assist all students with success in science and technology, regardless of background. He noted the school had “a vision to give lower middle class students and students of diverse backgrounds an opportunity to succeed in the education arena, by assisting them with the sciences and technology, which is what diverse students are lacking.” Mr. Brown further spoke about how agricultural education courses complement the technology focus providing possible solutions to manufacturing and social issues. He stated, “I suggest to you that we take agriculture and we put it right next to the computer and perhaps some of our job manufacturing issues will be resolved, it will resolve some of those social factors, but as everything does, it starts with the education.” Mr. Brooks emphasized the importance for urban students to obtain a solid agricultural background, as residents of urban communities tend to lack awareness and knowledge regarding agricultural education and careers. He noted, “The east-side of Fern Grove and the urbanness [sic] of it all and to have that strong agricultural background. I want people to say wow they really are doing something in Cornwall County and especially on the east-side of Fern Grove.”

Ag Education Solves STEM Learning



Agricultural education requires STEM


Myers, University of Florida of Agricultural Education and Communication professor, and Stubbs, University of Florida, Agricultural Education and Communication graduate assistant, 15

[Brian and Eric, 2015, The American Association for Agriculture Education, Journal of Agricultural Education, “Multiple Case Study of STEM in School-based Agricultural Education”, http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1122767.pdf, accessed 6/30/17, JBC]



Agricultural careers of the future will require more knowledge and skills related to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) (Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities [APLU], 2009; Committee on Prospering in the Global Economy of the 21st Century, 2007; National Research Council, 2009). STEM will be critical to ensuring an adequate food supply, economic well-being, public and environmental health, security, new industries, and an improved standard of living in developing countries. Agricultural education has used inherently interdisciplinary contexts and involved each of the four STEM subjects. This can help address the stagnation of student achievement in STEM (APLU, 2009; National Research Council, 2009). Agriculture has also faced the difficult problem of a growing population combined with environmental limits. With population projections at over 9 billion for 2050, food production must significantly increase at the same time it is shrinking its environmental footprint (Foley et al., 2011). Furthermore, The National Research Council (2009) pointed out society’s major challenges, including energy security, national security, human health, and climate change — are closely tied to the global food and agriculture enterprise. Academic institutions with programs in agriculture are in a perfect position to foster the next generation of leaders and professionals needed to address these challenges. (p. 1) Therefore, agricultural education should help create a 21st century workforce able to address social, economic, and environmental challenges through STEM. The National Research Council (2009) went as far as suggesting STEM be changed to science, technology, engineering, agriculture, and mathematics (STEAM). Despite the calls for increasing integration of STEM into agricultural curricula, a research gap has made it difficult to address through policy and teacher preparation. Myers and Dyer (2004) noted “studies are needed to identify the best methods teacher educators can employ to prepare teachers for this expanded role” (p. 50).

Science in agriculture increases understanding of science – teacher and student results prove


Ulmer, Texas Tech University teacher educator, and Witt, Texas Tech University Agricultural Education, doctoral student, 11

(Dr. Jonathan and Phillip, September/October 2011, The Agricultural Education Magazine, “Integrating Science Instruction into Pre-Service Teacher Education.” ProQuest, Accessed 6/30/17, GDI - JMo)



In a recent speech to the American Association for Agricultural Education, Dr. Kirby Barrick clarified a recommendation from Understanding Agriculture: New Directions for Education (1988). Dr. Barrick stated, we were not to teach agriculture as a science, but to emphasize the science in agriculture. Organizations like the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences recommend schools should be connecting what students are learning in the classroom to the working world (American Association for Advancement of Science, 1993). Programs like agricultural education have an avenue to complete that connection. The Carl D. Perkins Education Act (109th U.S. Congress, 2006) directs career and technical programs to teach students with content that aligns with core academic standards. In agricultural education, the connections to science and mathematics are strong. Perkins specifically calls for "competency-based applied learning that contributes to the academic knowledge, higher-order reasoning and problem-solving skills" (p 4). Thompson (2001) found that administrators' perceptions of increasing science knowledge through integration in agriculture are positive. Over 76% of principals surveyed thought that students would have a better understanding of science if the science was integrated into agriculture instruction. Additionally, over 70% thought that students would be better prepared in science if they were to complete an integrated classroom. Science teachers had similar results, over 63% agree that students would have a better understanding of science if they were to complete a science integrated agriculture classroom (Warnick, Thompson, & Gummer, 2004).

Agriscience increases test scores - now is a unique time to further integrate science into agriculture - preservice teachers have experienced the push for science integration


Rubenstein, University of Georgia College of Agricultural & and environmental Sciences Assistant Professor of Agricultural Leadership education and communication, et al, 16

(E.D., N.W. Conner, University of Nebraska-Lincoln assistant professor Agricultural Leadership education and communication, S.D. Hurst, Agriculture Teacher Osceola Middle School, and A.C. Thoron, University of Florida Institute of food and Agricultural studies Assistant Professor of Agricultural Education and Communication, September 2016, North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture Journal, “A Philosophical Examination of School-based Agricultural Education and NBC's Education Nation.” ProQuest, Volume 60, Issue 3, Accessed 6/30/17, GDI - JMo)



SBAE has included science as a part of its curriculum since the advent of agriculture classes in the public school (True, 1929). Agriculture has been shown to be an appropriate context for science integration (Thoron et al., 2011). Increased emphasis on standardized testing has prompted SBAE to focus on science integration in an effort to enhance students' science knowledge, which would be accessed through standardized tests (Ricketts et al., 2006). A study by Ricketts et al. (2006) supported previous research that found students enrolled in agriscience courses scored higher on standardized science tests than students that were not enrolled in agriscience courses (Enderlin and Osborne, 1991; Mabie and Baker, 1996; Conroy and Walker, 1998; Chiasson and Burnett, 2001). Agriscience courses play an important role in increasing students' scientific ability by providing a context for scientific concepts and application (Ricketts et al., 2006). SBAE currently has teachers that believe it is important to continue adding science concepts into the agriscience curriculum (Thoron and Myers, 2009). However, the need for continued science integration is inherent with in-service and pre-service teachers (Thoron and Myers, 2009). According to Thoron and Myers (2009) SBAE is currently at a unique point in its evolution. The current generations of preservice teachers have experienced the push for science integration when they were secondary students (Thoron and Myers, 2009). This experience has helped to create agriscience teachers that understand the importance and significance of continued science integration into SBAE (Thoron and Myers, 2009).

[Note: SBAE = School Based Agricultural Education]


Ag Education Key to STEM Retention



Agriculture education leads students to pursue careers in agriculture or STEM


Henry, Purdue University Office of Multicultural Programs graduate research assistant, et al, 14

(Kesha A., Brian Allen Talbert, Purdue University College of Agriculture Department of Youth Development and Agricultural Education Professor, Pamala V. Morris, Purdue University College of Agriculture Assistant Dean/Director of the Office of Multicultural Programs, 2014, Journal of Agricultural Education, “Agricultural Education in an Urban Charter School: Perspectives and Challenges.” Volume 55 issue 2, http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1122353.pdf, p. 94-95, Accessed 6/28/17, GDI - JMo)



After participants highlighted the critical role agricultural education courses play in enhancing the school’s science and technology focus, they expressed interest in growing the program by increasing the number of agricultural education courses offered. Participants also

discussed robustness of the current science program and ways in which agricultural science courses contributed to their unique urban agricultural education program. Participants further expressed interest in developing students who seek colleges of agriculture to pursue careers in agriculture such as agricultural engineering or other related areas in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields. Mr. Brooks noted how agriculture could lead to STEM-related careers.

Agricultural education leads to workplace readiness in STEM


Rubenstein, University of Georgia College of Agricultural & and environmental Sciences Assistant Professor of Agricultural Leadership education and communication, et al, 16

(E.D., N.W. Conner, University of Nebraska-Lincoln assistant professor Agricultural Leadership education and communication, S.D. Hurst, Agriculture Teacher Osceola Middle School, and A.C. Thoron, University of Florida Institute of food and Agricultural studies Assistant Professor of Agricultural Education and Communication, September 2016, North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture Journal, “A Philosophical Examination of School-based Agricultural Education and NBC's Education Nation.” ProQuest, Volume 60, Issue 3, Accessed 6/30/17, GDI - JMo)

In addition to SBAE's focus on academic integration, SBAE fulfills a vocational role that provides technical skills to students that may be applied to the agricultural workplace (Dailey et al., 2001). By providing a plethora of agricultural courses, SBAE has been able to provide students with the opportunity to learn and enhance many workplace skills that may be transferred to different types of careers (Dailey et al., 2001). According to Education Nation (2012b), schools should provide students with a solid education in STEM, which will allow the student to be equipped with the appropriate knowledge and skills to obtain employment, apprenticeships and admittance into community colleges, vocational schools, or four-year degree programs.

[Note: SBAE = School Based Agricultural Education]


Integration Good – Laundry List



Integrating ag into STEM is imperative – multiple internal link to existential risks


*food, econ, environment, warming

Stubbs, University of Florida Department of Agricultural Education and Communication Graduate Assistant, and Myers, University of Florida Department of Agricultural Education and Communication Agricultural Education Professor, 15

[Eric A. Stubbs, Graduate Assistant in the Department of Agricultural Education and Communication at the University of Florida, and Brian E. Myers, Professor of Agricultural Education in the Department of Agricultural Education and Communication at the University of Florida. Journal of Agricultural Education, pg. 188-189, Volume 56, Issue 2, “Multiple Case Study of STEM in School-based Agricultural Education”, http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1122767.pdf, p. 188-189, accessed 6.8.2017]//TRossow



Agricultural careers of the future will require more knowledge and skills related to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) (Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities [APLU], 2009; Committee on Prospering in the Global Economy of the 21st Century, 2007; National Research Council, 2009). STEM will be critical to ensuring an adequate food supply, economic well-being, public and environmental health, security, new industries, and an improved standard of living in developing countries. Agricultural education has used inherently interdisciplinary contexts and involved each of the four STEM subjects. This can help address the stagnation of student achievement in STEM (APLU, 2009; National Research Council, 2009). Agriculture has also faced the difficult problem of a growing population combined with environmental limits. With population projections at over 9 billion for 2050, food production must significantly increase at the same time it is shrinking its environmental footprint (Foley et al., 2011). Furthermore, The National Research Council (2009) pointed out society’s major challenges, including energy security, national security, human health, and climate change — are closely tied to the global food and agriculture enterprise. Academic institutions with programs in agriculture are in a perfect position to foster the next generation of leaders and professionals needed to address these challenges. (p. 1) Therefore, agricultural education should help create a 21st century workforce able to address social, economic, and environmental challenges through STEM. The National Research Council (2009) went as far as suggesting STEM be changed to science, technology, engineering, agriculture, and mathematics (STEAM). Despite the calls for increasing integration of STEM into agricultural curricula, a research gap has made it difficult to address through policy and teacher preparation. Myers and Dyer (2004) noted “studies are needed to identify the best methods teacher educators can employ to prepare teachers for this expanded role” (p. 50). Federal policies have targeted increasing teacher efficacy and student achievement in STEM to better prepare students for a job market that requires sophisticated knowledge and skills. Concerns motivating STEM policy have included “achievement gaps between various demographic groups, U.S. student performance on international mathematics and science tests, foreign student enrollments in U.S. institutions of higher education, global STEM education attainment, U.S. STEM teacher quality, and the U.S. STEM labor supply” (Gonzalez & Kuenzi, 2012, p. 4). An overview of STEM education research by Brown (2012) concluded “more research is needed in both descriptive classroom applications for practicing teachers and in rigorous qualitative/quantitative research projects” (p. 10). Gonzalez and Kuenzi (2012) also connected increasing student achievement in STEM with positive socioeconomic outcomes. A key part of the philosophy of STEM education, much like agricultural education, has been an emphasis on connecting content knowledge, STEM knowledge, real-world issues, and problem solving skills (Ejiwale, 2012). Interestingly, agricultural education has employed many of the same teaching methods research has suggested for STEM education. When teaching STEM, Ejiwale (2012) noted the special importance of engaging students in “motivational activities that integrate the curriculum to promote hands-on and other related experiences that would be needed to help solve problems as they relate to their environments” (p. 91). Therefore, agricultural and STEM education have been a natural combination. Indeed, school-based agricultural education (SBAE) has been so diverse the philosophy of agricultural education has emphasized the process of learning by doing over the specific content learned (Phipps & Osborne, 1988). The explicit integration of science was first called for by the National Research Council in 1988. This drove the development of agriscience curricula, led to agriculture classes that provided science credits, and inspired studies showing how an agricultural context can improve science learning (Conroy, Dailey, & Shelley-Tolbert, 2000). Coolman (1992) noted engineering presents possibilities for solving problems, while agriculture provides a quickly increasing number of problems related to production and processing. More recently, the March-April 2013 edition of The Agricultural Education Magazine’s theme was using agriculture to teach STEM. As with science, significant research into mathematics in school-based agricultural education (SBAE) has also been completed (Miller & Gliem, 1994; Stripling & Roberts, 2012; Young, Edwards, & Leising, 2008). However, less research has addressed integrating technology and engineering. This has been a problem of STEM education research and action in general (Coppola & Malyn-Smith, 2006). Career and technical education (CTE), including SBAE, has been pushed to embrace the federal emphasis on STEM. “Agricultural education within the high school environment is becoming heavily looked upon by administrators as a way to bring relative meaning to core academic content that often seems to be a vast wilderness to so many students” (Haug, 2011, p. 7). Documenting and escalating the STEM content taught within agricultural classes may help administrators, politicians, and the public realize their value. This study has sought to contribute to the field by collecting qualitative data on how three typical SBAE programs taught STEM knowledge and skills as well as teacher and student perceptions of STEM within SBAE. In doing so, several of the aforementioned issues and knowledge gaps were addressed.

Integration Key to Ag Innovation



STEM integration leads to agricultural advances – New tech, engineering, and math practices key to future of the Industry


Boone, West Virginia University Agricultural and Extension Education Professor, 15

(Harry, March/April 2015, Agricultural Education Magazine, “The Role of STEM Education in 21st Century Agricultural Education”, Volume: 87, Number 5, http://www.naae.org/profdevelopment/magazine/archive_issues/Volume87/Mar-Apr_2015.pdf, p. 2 Accessed 6/30/17, VB)

Dr. Blythe has the opportunity to demonstrate to her colleagues, and the academic community at large, the large amount of STEM topics that are covered in the traditional agricultural education curriculum. From an insider’s point of view, we take for granted the large amount of science, technology, engineering and math that the average agricultural education teacher includes in his/her curriculum. While agricultural education has always included significant STEM components, the amount of STEM has increased with the implementation of the CASE curriculum. We not only teach the concepts, we also teach the application of the concepts. I would argue that the application of the concepts not only increases the student’s knowledge of the subjects but increases the long-term retention of the information.

At the time agricultural education in the United States was in its infancy, the agriculture industry was considerably different than it is today. Around the turn of the twentieth century, approximately fifty percent of the population was involved in production agriculture. Today that number has dropped to two percent. The two percent that are involved in production agriculture produce 41.9% of the world’s corn production, 33% of the world’s soybean production, 20.6% of the world’s beef and veal production and 17% of the world’s milk production. U.S. farmers exports 24% of all agricultural products sold in the world.



How did the United States grow into such a world power in agriculture production? In this author’s opinion this achievement has been made possible through the advancement of STEM concepts. Science has given us better varieties, superior yields, more efficient fertilizers, and advanced techniques. Technology has given us better marketing techniques, more efficient communication, better systems of dealing with the weather, computers, etc. Engineers has produced bigger and better equipment and advanced technologies such as farming with Global Positioning Systems. The use of math is central to the entire agricultural production process.

It is impossible for me to tell you what will happen in the next twenty five to fifty years. Back in the early eighties I knew that the personal computer was going to have an impact, however, I could not predicted the way computers would change our lives. What will be the next “personal computer,” “wireless communication,” or “satellite position system” that impacts the agriculture industry? You can bet it will combine a knowledge of the agriculture industry with one or more science, technology, engineering and math areas.


STEM is important to agricultural research


Rada, Minnesota FFA Association Leadership Development Coordinator, 15

[Lavyne, March/April 2015, The Agricultural Education Magazine, “STEM Education Beyond the Classroom”, Volume 87, No. 5, p. 10-11, KW]



As a former agricultural educator, I know the desire to connect classroom experiences to SAE and FFA so students are able to gain hands-on career skills and understand the relevance of classroom content. The AgriScience Fair was one way I was able to see the science concepts taught in a class being applied as the students designed and completed a research experience. Students also used a variety of technology and engineering principles to design the experiment, gather data, and display their results to the audience. The data gathered was then analyzed using math principles so it could either support or disprove the student’s hypothesis. This is just one example of how agricultural education students are applying STEM concepts in FFA, but AgriScience research projects were also one of my favorite ways as a teacher to incorporate inquiry based thinking and allow students to demonstrate their understanding of a topic and the scientific method. Career development events (CDEs) in FFA also have many examples of how STEM concepts are reinforced. Whether it is Agricultural Technology and Mechanical Systems, Food Science and Technology, Milk Quality and Products, Meats Evaluation and Technology or Floriculture, science, technology, engineering and math are used in all of these CDEs and more! Members in the Agricultural Communications event are asked to use a variety of technology to share key messages with an audience on radio, television, print, or on a website. Likewise, Agricultural Technology and Mechanical Systems competitors use technology, engineering and math throughout the event to solve problems related to machinery, electrical systems, construction, and much more. Members in the Nursery/Landscape event apply engineering and math skills as they calculate the needs to execute a landscape plan while maintaining a profit. Members in the Veterinary Science event apply a variety of biology and chemistry scientific principles as they prepare to work with a variety of animals while also applying mathematical concepts including conversions, dose calculations, and invoices. These are just a few examples of how FFA is continuing to provide relevant experiences to members as they apply STEM concepts with Career Development Events. The SAE program is another way for students to apply STEM concepts. Some entrepreneurship SAEs allows students to engineer a product to sell or provide a service while another expands a student’s ability to apply math principles to tracking the income and expenses of their business. One student’s placement SAE applies the science concepts they learned while they work for the local greenhouse and identifies the nutritional deficiency appearing on the plants while another student uses the drone technology to scout and diagnose threats in a corn field. A student with a research SAE is analyzing the effects of organic and inorganic crops on the local watershed while another student is researching the opinions in his community about genetically modified-organisms being labeled on food packaging. A student with an exploratory SAE is researching and completing a job shadow at General Mills with a food scientist learning about how new food products are developed and marketed while another student explores the options for renewable energy sources for her high school. All of these students have experiential learning experiences related to STEM concepts.

The future of farming depends on agricultural technology innovations – increasing ag literacy is key to generate enough tech talent


Martinez, et al., Digital Next Founder, 16

[Jacob, Jenni Vietch-Olson, Yethzell Diaz, November 1, 2016, The Agricultural Education Magazine, “The Convergence of Agriculture, Technology and Education, https://www.questia.com/library/journal/1P4-1907806523/the-convergence-of-agriculture-technology-and-education, pg. 22, accessed: 6/28/17, SK]



The future of farming depends on the development of innovative AgTech solutions, but the United States is not generating enough tech talent to fill the needs of the industry. Therefore, the industry must offer competitive salaries to entice recent graduates to work locally. Additionally, community stakeholders, including employers and secondary agriculture education teachers, must prepare young workers with the skills they need to address current agricultural industry needs and drive the direction of local AgTech industry in the future. As we continue to explore ways to build the future Ag- Tech industry, an essential element for sustained workforce development is the inclusion of a local, tech-empowered workforce. Thus, in 2014, we launched the Digital NEST (Nurturing Entrepreneurial Skills with Technology) to build skilled and relevant workforce for our increasingly interconnected world.

Ag Innovation – Extinction Impact



STEM is crucial to advances in agriculture and resource management – the future of humanity depends on it


Spielmaker, National Agricultural Literacy Curriculum Matrix Project Director, 13

[Debra, 2013, Creative Commons Copyleft, “National Agricultural Literacy Outcomes”, https://www.agclassroom.org/get/doc/NALObooklet.pdf, p. 10, 6/30/17 KW]

According to most historians, the development of agriculture resulted in the beginning of civilization. Agricultural development has relied on evolving scientific understandings, engineering processes, and the application of both to develop innovative technologies to save labor and increase yields. In the early 1900s, 50% of the U.S. population lived in rural areas, and 30% made their living on the farm (U.S. Department of Agriculture, 2014). Technological advancements of the last century have resulted in a nation where just over 1% (Central Intelligence Agency, 2013) of the population make their living on farms and ranches. It may seem that we no longer need to consider agricultural careers as important or relevant; however, it takes 21 million workers, or about 15% of the U.S. population, to support farm and ranch production, processing, and marketing (Goecker, Smith, Smith, & Goetz, 2010). The fact that 1% of the population produces for the other 99% is a real achievement! What has happened to cause this change in 100 years? Science, technology, engineering and mathematical understandings to address labor, and solve production and environmental problems.

The science and technologies applied to agriculture and food rival the science and technologies applied to medicine. Agriculture is the “other” major health science—applying science, engineering, technology, and mathematics to improve the health of plants and animals, of people, and our environment. The fields of mechanical engineering, microbiology, genetics, and chemistry have their origins intrinsically linked with agriculture and food, and while we have fewer people working on farms, the 21 million workers that support agricultural production include scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs.

Our quality of life is dependent upon the continued development and appropriate use of science and engineering to provide an abundance of safe, healthy, nutritious food, fibers, and the fuels necessary to sustain the needs of a growing world population. At the same time, we need to sustain the natural resource base of this planet—on which all life depends! While yields and labor-saving technologies remain important, future agricultural scientists and engineers will need to solve additional problems that will lead to a more sustainable agricultural system that feeds a growing population. Theme 4, understanding the science, engineering, technology, and mathematics of agriculture, food, and natural resources is crucial for the future of all humanity.


Solvency – Curriculum



Integration with STEM is key to effective workers – national curriculum key


DiBenedetto, University of Florida Agricultural Education and Communication, Ph.D. Candidate/Graduate Assistant, 15

(Catherine, March/ April 2015, The Agricultural Education Magazine, “AGSTEM Interdisciplinary Collaboration: Building Bridges from Subject to Subject to Enhance College and Career Readiness”, Volume: 87, Number 5, http://www.naae.org/profdevelopment/magazine/archive_issues/Volume87/Mar-Apr_2015.pdf, p. 5-6 Accessed 6/30/17, VB)



Interdisciplinary learning experiences can assist in bridging the gap between knowledge acquisitions from subject to subject and transfer application into real world experiences. As teachers design their daily lesson plans, do they consider how the skills and concepts they teach relate to what their students are learning in other subjects? Do administrators encourage and provide time for interdisciplinary collaboration among teachers in their schools?

If the common goal of the school is to prepare students to be college and career ready, how are teachers, administrators, parents, industry leaders, and the local community working together to support this goal? Evidence suggests that students are not prepared to enter the 21st century workplace (NRC, 2000). Teachers and industry leaders have voiced concern for college and career preparedness of students as they graduate high school and enter college and/or careers. Teachers indicate that nearly 40% of their students will need remedial training to successfully enter college or a career (MetLife, 2011). Industry leaders indicate that students are not prepared to enter the workforce (Carnevale, Smith, & Melton, 2011). Skills including problem solving, critical thinking, communication, teamwork, initiative, self-direction, and grit/perseverance are required for students to be successful in the 21st century workplace (Duckworth, Peterson, Matthews, & Kelly, 2007). As teachers, how can we support the needs of our students while preparing them to be college and career ready?

Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) has become a critical component to discussions in education and industry. STEM integration is not a new concept. Educating our students in STEM subjects has become fundamental to providing them with a foundation for successful employment in the 21st century. If the school system works together, positive outcomes will follow for all 6 The Agricultural Education Magazine involved. Reflect for a moment on the African proverb “it takes a village to raise a child.” It takes the efforts of several teachers within a school system to prepare a student to be college and career ready. The STEM initiative has provided rich prospects for collaboration among teachers. Interdisciplinary collaboration can assist in developing social responsibility and attaining common goals.

CASE provides a model for science integration into agricultural education


Ulmer, Texas Tech University teacher educator, and Witt, Texas Tech University Agricultural Education, doctoral student, 11

(Dr. Jonathan and Phillip, September/October 2011, The Agricultural Education Magazine, “Integrating Science Instruction into Pre-Service Teacher Education.” ProQuest, Accessed 6/30/17, GDI - JMo)



Teachers across the country have taken countless credit hours of class that were scientific in nature, whether they were agriculture or core courses. But how do we emphasize the science in the high school agriculture classroom? Many models of content integration have been explored, some teachers rely on their knowledge from college, some cooperate with the biology teachers, and others teach agriculture and let the science speak for itself. Content integration has been around in some programs for many years. Medicine Valley High School in Curtis, Nebraska was working to highlight the science in the agriculture in the late 1990s with activities like electrophoresis and tissue culturing.

Recently an increasing number of states are recognizing the value of agriculture as a science. New policy in Texas allows specific advanced agriculture classes to be credited for one of the four required courses in science or mathematics. The most recent development on content integration from the National Council for Agricultural Education is the Curriculum for Agricultural Science Education (CASE).

The goals of CASE are widespread, but its primary objective is improving student performance in math and science by creating a context for student learning through agricultural education courses. Those at CASE strive to ensure quality teaching by providing extensive training for teachers who choose to use the curriculum in their program. The CASE Institute is the professional development component of CASE that provides 80 hours of instruction for each of the courses that have been developed. This component is required of all teachers to provide teachers important background related to the pedagogy used in the CASE curricula and the opportunity to practice various lessons in preparation for classroom instruction (CASE, 2010).

[Note: CASE = Curriculum for Agricultural Science Education]


Solvency – Teacher Training



Teacher development uniquely increases student achievement in STEM


Stripling, University of Tennessee Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications Assistant Professor and Ricketts, Tennessee State University Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Professor, 16

[Christopher, John, 2016, American Association for Agricultural Education, AMERICAN ASSOCIATION FOR AGRICULTURAL EDUCATION NATIONAL RESEARCH AGENDA 2016-2020, http://aaaeonline.org/resources/Documents/AAAE_National_Research_Agenda_2016-2020.pdf, page 32, Date accessed 6-28-17, RK]



Evidence is starting to emerge on effective practices for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) integration in school-based agricultural education as well; however, the literature and scope of current works are limited in this field too. The Math-in-CTE model (Stone, Alfeld, Pearson, Lewis, & Jensen, 2006) has shown promise for enhancing the mathematics found within the school-based curriculum, while not diminishing technical skills (Parr, Edwards, & Leising, 2006, 2008; Young, Edwards, & Leising, 2009). Early research has also shown promise for incorporating the Math-in-CTE model into preservice agricultural teacher education (Stripling & Roberts, 2013, 2014). Furthermore, inquirybased instruction and the use of Vee maps appear to positively impact science student achievement (Thoron & Myers, 2010, 2011, 2012). Thoron and Myers suggested when school-based teachers are provided professional development related to the aforementioned strategies and given guidance and feedback on their instruction, science student achievement is advanced. Outside of school-based agricultural education, instructional strategies such as the WISE Seed Discussions, 5E Model, and Learning by Design show promise for improving science achievement and 21st century skills (National Research Council, 2010). The effectiveness of these strategies and other science education strategies should be explored in school-based, postsecondary, and nonformal agricultural education as a means for developing a scientific and professional agricultural workforce.

Note – CTE = Career and Technical Education


Solvency – Funding



Increased federal funding is the first step to integration


Chumbley, West Virginia University Agricultural and Extension Education and Center for Excellence in STEM Education Assistant Professor, 15

(Steven, March/ April 2015, Agricultural Education Magazine, “Taking Advantage of the STEM in Agriscience”, Volume: 87, Number 5, p. 13, ProQuest, Accessed 7/1/17, VB)



An obstacle to STEM integration agriculture science teachers often run into is having enough resources to offer innovative, problem based STEM activities to their students. One way to obtain these resources is through grants and strategic partnerships. As part of the 2015 budget, the Department of Education has set out over $110 million for STEM Innovative Networks. This program will award grants to school districts in partnership with colleges and other regional partners to transform STEM teaching and learning by accelerating the adoption of practices in P-12 education that help to increase the number students who seek out and are well prepared for postsecondary education and careers in STEM fields.

Teachers are encouraged to seek out funding from their school district in support of initiatives to integrate STEM in the agriculture classroom. There are a number of outside sources that teachers can look to as well to seek funding. One such resource is the company STEMfinity (www. stemfinity.com). They offer project based learning STEM curriculum along with grants and grant writing support. I know several agriculture science teachers who have been successful receiving grants that they found through websites like www. stemgrants.com.

As agriculture educators, we are used to developing partnerships and relationships with community and business leaders. I would encourage teachers to take this entrepreneurial spirit when developing resources for STEM integration. Teachers can partner with local universities, museums and industry to increase students learning of technology. Guest lectures from these various partnerships can add to students understanding and interest in STEM within agriculture. Invite a local dealer to bring some of their newest products in and explain to students the advancements in technology and their impact on precision agriculture. To help students better understand the science behind GMOs, invite a local seed rep to discuss this topic and how they benefit production agriculture.


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