The Fayette Tribune, Oak Hill, W.Va.

Local News

June 11, 2012

STEM institute introduces state teachers to agriculture

MORGANTOWN — West Virginia University is committed to promoting innovative education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. A group of West Virginia educators will have the chance to explore these disciplines through an unexpected lens in the upcoming Summer Agricultural Institute for Educators, to be held June 14-15.

“Agriculture is a natural springboard for studying the STEM disciplines,” said Debby Boone, WVU associate professor of agricultural and extension education and one of the event’s organizers.

“Science, technology, engineering and math have always been integral components of any agricultural endeavor.”

The 67 K-12 teachers participating in the institute will be given tools to better communicate accurate information related to agriculture to their students.

Nineteen instructors from the WVU Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design, WVU Extension Service, and partner agencies will learn about innovative lesson plans and teaching techniques that bring the STEM disciplines to life through agriculture.

“We are not asking them to add more to their plates, just giving them new ideas to teach the STEM concepts using agricultural-related topics,” Boone explained.

She hopes the teachers also walk away with a better understanding of the depth, breadth and complexity of agriculture.

“Agriculture touches every individual every day in numerous ways that most folks take for granted and do not even recognize,” Boone explained.

“That meal you had today was brought to you through the collaboration of many agricultural scientists, engineers, mathematicians and a wide variety of applied technology. Agriculture by its nature is the ultimate STEM discipline to which everyone can relate.”

Sessions will focus on everything from poultry to popcorn and water quality to wool. Teachers will also hear about children’s and young adult literature that offers the most accurate portrayals of agriculture, and enjoy a keynote address from Robert Morris, WVU alumnus and West Virginia Teacher of the Year. Most sessions will be held at the Hilton Garden Inn in Morgantown.

The institute is sponsored by the WVU Davis College, WVU Extension, and the West Virginia Farm Bureau.

For more information on the institute, contact Boone at 304-293-5450 or debby.boone@mail.wvu.edu.

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