The Nebraska Corn Board is supporting teachers with materials designed for NGSS in both the middle and high school science classroom. Teachers were inspired with phenomena-based storylines and lessons to engage their students with agricultural topics for biology, chemistry, environmental science classrooms, and more.
Participants came from all over the state and were welcomed by Dr. James Blake, science curriculum director for Lincoln Public Schools. The workshop began with a phenomenon on corn growth as the teachers explored how biotechnology and precision agriculture have increased yield. Then they split into groups, performed investigative labs, and taught the content of these lessons to their peers.
- Soil and sustainability (soil structure/texture, nutrients)
- Water quality (chemistry/macroinvertebrates)
- Basic biotechnology, applied biotechnology (moving genes, plasmid modeling, genetic transformation)
- Energy and ethanol (corn fermentation, ethanol: corn mash/nutrient testing/distillation)
- Feeding the World (populations, agriculture)
The first day of the workshop concluded with an industry dinner at the Eberspacher farm. Teachers enjoyed dinner and the opportunity to talk with Nebraska Corn Board members and agriculture industry experts in careers such as farming, agronomy, seed services, and research. Teachers really appreciated hearing about the different careers and said they looked forward to sharing that information with their students.
The group toured the E Energy Adams ethanol plant tour at the end of the second day. Plant lab manager Mark Gouthro explained the plant’s production process and then the group was able to walk through and observe the different sections.