Making the Grade with Beef
Denison students learn how beef is graded
Denison, IA – April 26 th, 2019. Ninth grade students at Denison High School were recently studying foods as a part of their agriculture class. Student teacher Chelsea Assmann, brought in Loess Hills Agriculture in the Classroom to teach the students about differences between cuts of beef including Prime, Choice, Select, and lower graded cuts. The students used a chart and cut out puzzle pieces with various characteristics to illustrate the differences between the grades.
“As a part of my student teaching experience, I am required to utilize a resource person and I instantly thought of the Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation,” said Assmann who is finishing up her requirements for graduation at Iowa State University. “I remembered seeing that Loess Hills was now available regionally for classroom programming.”
Melanie Bruck, Loess Hills Agriculture in the Classroom education program coordinator, provided information comparing grass-finished and grain-finished beef. Bruck explained that all cattle are grass fed early in their life. They are then finished or fattened in different ways. Students then had fun talking about what cuts of beef and types of beef dishes they liked to eat the best.
“As fewer and fewer farmers are required to produce the food we eat, fewer and fewer people understand where their food comes from,” says Bruck. “Visiting these classrooms and engaging with students gives me an opportunity to start conversations about how agriculture fits into all of our lives.”
The class discussed the availability of beef around the world. Consumers are exposed to a variety of product labels and beef terminology that may raise questions. Through the lesson students gained an understanding of what USDA Prime means. They discussed why steak is typically an expensive cut of meat. They discussed the pros and cons of both grass-finished and grain-finished beef.
Beef: Making the Grade is one of hundreds of lesson plans available to teachers and educators and can be found on the IALF website. The lesson targets 9-12 th grade students and takes approximately one hour to complete.
About Loess Hills Agriculture in the Classroom
Loess Hills Agriculture in the Classroom is a regional effort of the Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation (IALF) established August of 2018 and has already reached over 4600 students. It serves school districts in five counties in southwest Iowa including Carroll Co., Crawford Co., Harrison Co., Shelby Co., and West Pottawattamie Co. The IALF mission is to educate Iowans, with a focus on youth, regarding the breadth and global significance of agriculture. IALF serves as a central resource for educators and volunteers who want to teach Iowa's students about agriculture. As leading producer of agricultural products, it is important for all Iowans to understand the essential role agriculture has in their lives. The mission of Agriculture in the Classroom is to "increase agricultural literacy through K-12 education." An agriculturally literate person is "one who understands and can communicate the source and value of agriculture as it affects quality of life." AITC programs seek to improve student achievement by applying authentic, agricultural-based content as the context to teach core curriculum concepts in science, social studies, language arts and nutrition. By embedding agriculture into curriculum, AITC cultivates an understanding and appreciation of the food and fiber system that we rely on every day. AITC is unique within the agricultural education community as the lead organization to serve the full spectrum of K-12 formal education. For more information visit IALF online at www.IowaAgLiteracy.org, on Facebook, and Twitter.
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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