Bayer Fund to Support Teacher Professional Development in Iowa
Ankeny, Iowa – June 11, 2020– Employees from the Bayer-Ankeny site recommended the Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation to receive a $2,000 grant from the Bayer Fund. Funds from the grant will be used to support the teacher professional development efforts in Central Iowa.
“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 us to conduct virtual 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 and 2019 to support these teacher workshops. Over the course of the past two years in which the Bayer Fund supported these teacher workshops, the workshops that the Bayer Fund sponsored engaged a total of 179 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. 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 Marymar Butruille, PhD, Germplasm IP Scientist Lead for Bayer U.S. – Crop Science Division 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. Because of social distancing restrictions, the workshop will feature virtual tours of farms, conversations with farmers and agribusiness professionals, and online discussions about the agriculture and food systems. The professional development course also includes developing lesson plans for students and virtual learning modules that integrate agriculture. All of the assignments will lead to teachers learning how to apply agricultural 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 Butruille. “Modern agriculture is built on the successful application of science, technology, engineering and math concepts.”
In 2019, Bayer Fund awarded more than $14 million to over 3,200 charitable and nonprofit organizations to help address essential needs in food and nutrition, STEM education and community development. Over the last five years, nonprofit organizations across the U.S. have received more than $79 million. To learn more about Bayer Fund visit https://www.fund.bayer.us.
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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. Through Agriculture in the Classroom efforts IALF engages with teachers and students. For more information visit IALF online at www.IowaAgLiteracy.org, on Facebook, and Twitter.
About Bayer Fund
Bayer Fund, a philanthropic arm of Bayer, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening the communities where Bayer customers and employees live and work by providing funding for food and nutrition, education and community development projects.