Fayette High School’s agriculture teacher participated in the inaugural Ohio Ag-Biotechnology Academy at the DuPont Pioneer soybean research center in Napoleon. The event was sponsored by the Ohio Soybean Council and DuPont Pioneer, in cooperation with the Ohio Department of Education.
Fayette teacher Pamela Schultz joined other agricultural education and science teachers from Ohio in the academy designed to engage teachers in a hands-on, inquiry-based atmosphere focused on integrating ag-biotechnology curriculum into career technical and high school education programs.
The goals mirrored those of the ag-biotechnology industry, including: exploring the scientific basis for consumer acceptance of biotechnology; assessing the potential for ag-biotechnology to contribute to global food security; understanding the impact of ag-biotechnology on the environment, sustainability and nutrition around the world; and introducing the global pipeline for new biotechnology traits.
Selected through a competitive application process, 26 teachers spent two days at the research center engaged in laboratory activities led by their peers that they can take back to their classrooms and integrate into curriculums this coming school year.
Additionally, DuPont Pioneer soybean research scientist Cat Salois spent time talking about the importance of ag-biotechnology and how soybean breeding has adapted in an effort to meet the global food demands of a growing population. She also led teachers through a hands-on activity in the field, taking them step by step through the soybean crossing process. Relative application of ag-biotechnology was learned during a visit to a local farm hosted by Henry County farmer and Pioneer sales representative Kevin Homan.
Many times teachers are limited on what they can teach because of a lack of laboratory equipment. To help with this, each teacher was given a starter lab kit and textbook, making it easy for them to add the science lessons learned to their curriculums. The kits were made possible with a DuPont Pioneer science education grant awarded to Ohio Soybean Council Foundation (OSCF) through the DuPont Pioneer Giving program.
In addition to the science kits, teachers were given the opportunity to apply for additional grant money for more advanced equipment. Three teachers will be selected.