Ankeny, Iowa – June 4, 2019– Employees from the Bayer-Ankeny site recommended the Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation to receive a $4,000 grant from the Bayer Fund. Funds from the grant will be used to support the teacher professional development efforts in Ankeny and around the greater Des Moines metropolitan area.
“We want to show teachers hands-on lesson and activities they can use with their students,” said Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation executive director Will Fett. “This grant will allow conduct more workshops for teachers and give them a level of comfort to include agriculture into their classroom curriculum. Teachers can use agriculture to teach core concepts and align to science and social studies educational standards.”
The Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation previously received a Bayer Fund grant in 2018 to support these teacher workshops. The two workshops engaged a total of 44 teachers in grades PreK-12. The distribution in teacher grade levels was well distributed across all grade levels. Teachers who took the class for credit were required to turn in two lesson plans as one of their assignments for the course. More than 34 lessons were submitted. Non-duplicative lessons were made available on the Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation website for other teachers to use in their classrooms. Lesson plan topics included things like: corn, pigs, bread, pollinators, statistics, milk, plant parts, Iowa history, beef, supply and demand, nutrition, pumpkins, soil, cover crops, engineering, organics, wind energy, watersheds, and more.
Teachers increased their awareness of agriculture through the workshops. They also increased their understanding of how important agriculture is. In a pre-course survey only 51% of teachers considered agriculture to be a very effective way to illustrate concepts to students. In the post-course survey, 78% of teachers thought that agriculture was a very effective way to illustrate concepts to their students.
“Agriculture is a key division of our company and encouraging teachers to understand the science of modern agriculture is very exciting,” said Jeff Woessner, PhD, Site Lead at the Molecular Breeding Center in Ankeny. “We’re enthusiastic about supporting the Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation with this Bayer Fund grant.”
Most Americans are three to four generations removed from the farm. The workshops typically include one day of site visits to local farms and agribusinesses. The tours also include one day of classroom work learning how to apply concepts and align to standards. The workshops offer graduate level credit and/or license renewal credit for teachers to meet their continuing education requirements.
“Educators play a vital role in teaching students about science and STEM career options,” said Woessner. “Modern agriculture is built on the successful application of science, technology, engineering and math concepts.”
In 2019, Bayer Fund awarded more than $1.4 million through this program to nonprofit organizations in rural communities to help address essential needs in Food & Nutrition, STEM Education, and Community Development. Nonprofit organizations across the U.S. have received more than $7 million through this program over the last five years.
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About the Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation
IALF serves as a central resource for educators and volunteers who want to teach Iowa’s students about agriculture. The mission is to educate Iowans, with a focus on youth, regarding the breadth and global significance of agriculture. Iowa is a leading producer of agricultural products that are essential to feed a growing world population, estimated to reach more than 9 billion by 2050. IALF believes it is important for all Iowans to understand the essential role agriculture has in their lives. IALF will support existing agriculture education efforts such as FFA, 4-H and Ag in the Classroom. IALF was created through a joint effort of agricultural stakeholders, including the Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, Iowa Pork Producers Association, Iowa Soybean Association, Silos and Smokestacks Foundation, DuPont Pioneer, GROWMARK, and the Iowa Beef Industry Council. For more information visit IALF online at IowaAgLiteracy.org, on Facebook, and Twitter.
Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation
Will Fett, Executive Director
Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation