Des Moines, Iowa – January 24, 2017–Dr. DeEtta Anderson, a high school science teacher from Center Point, Iowa is the recipient of the Iowa Excellence in Teaching about Agriculture award. Anderson competed against other elementary, middle and high school teachers to earn the honor. She was recognized at a ceremony at the Iowa Pork Congress held in Des Moines on January 24.
Anderson incorporates agriculture technology into her biology and physical science classes by engaging students in learning about land use, conservation, crop production, genetics, and the need for alternative fuels. She teaches about maintaining healthy livestock and her curriculum grows out of local issues. The awards program is a project of the Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation and is supported through a grant from the CHS Foundation.
“In a solutions-oriented project, students made starch based plastics to examine alternatives to oil-based materials,” said Anderson. “Not only did they have fun, they learned about the importance of corn for our future and its economic importance for Iowans.”
Anderson will receive a $500 stipend to support her continued efforts of integrating agriculture into her classroom curriculum. She will also attend the National Agriculture in the Classroom conference to be held in Kansas City, Missouri in June 2017.
Anderson is in her 9th year of teaching at Center Point Urbana High School where she also serves as the drama director. She earned her doctorate in education from Walden University in Minnesota. As an Iowa State University alumni she has strong ties to agricultural careers helping her students find a pathway toward future careers in agriculture science and technology.
By positioning her classroom as a community, Anderson channels the passion of her students into conversations and learning about agriculture issues. For nearly a semester her class focused on genetically modified organisms or GMOs by testing corn plant resistance to corn borer larva. They learned about the insect life cycle and how the genetically modified organism guards against the destructive insect. Anderson was also a recipient of a 2016 Agriculture in the Classroom Teacher Supplement Grant and plans to continue to incorporate agriculture into her classroom activities.
“In my class, students to grow in an active, relevant, and enriching environment that is deeply rooted in the soil of Iowa,” said Anderson. “We are out in the field testing and exploring. We learn from experts. We listen to local issues, learn, and design solutions. We debate and take stands.”
Jane Dufoe, parent of one of Anderson’s students, said, “DeEtta has an understanding of what it takes to capture the minds of the ‘non-ag’ kids as well as the knowledge to provide a depth of understanding for the students in her classroom that show a propensity for agriculture related topics. DeEtta’s own natural curiosity, and intellect, allow her to teach her students in the way that each of them learns best.”