Summary 2019 — Nebraska
The Nebraska AgMag series supports Nebraska fourth grade content area standards for language arts, social studies, and a science. A publication and teacher’s guide are sent to every elementary in Nebraska in the Spring and Fall. In 2019, two issues were released: Nebraska’s Natural Resources & Nebraska’s Food Connection. https://nefbfoundation.org/educators/teacher-resources/ag-mag The program “Hello, Gus” was created to engage teachers across the state. To participate, teachers would snap a photo of Gus using agriculture in their classroom. Two teachers were drawn at random from submissions and gifted a Book Bundle consisting of twelve books. https://nefbfoundation.org/educators/get-involved/hello-gus Using problem-based learning, this new curriculum expanded on the elementary project, A Pig’s Tale. This curriculum allows students to work in teams, think critically, and centers on student learning to answer the question, “how does a farmer help a pig grow from two pounds to two-hundred seventy pounds in six months?” Teachers can present the problem first and take a short time or a whole semester to answer the question. This curriculum meets science and agriculture, food, and natural resource standards. https://nefbfoundation.org/educators/teacher-resources/lesson-plan-activity-bundles Developed two curriculum units to be used in after-school programs or summer camps. The resources align to Nebraska State Standards. https://nefbfoundation.org/educators/teacher-resources/camp-club-kits One unit is suited for sixth – eight grade students. Dirt Detectives allows students to investigate population growth in the world and develop a plan to grow more food on a shrinking amount of soil through STEM concepts in eight lessons. The next unit is suited for kindergarten- second grade students. Food Matters allows students to explore the five food groups and what state-grown foods fit into each group. This club makes a local connection to good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle.
Major Program Impacts or Outcomes
27,839 fourth grade students in Nebraska received edition three and four of AgMag. Agricultural literacy increased among 33,871 students who participated in hands-on learning through staff and volunteers. 100% of pre-service teachers state they can see themselves using AITC resources in their classroom. 100% of Ag Pen Pal participants believe there is a need for the program in Nebraska schools. 100% of Ag Pen Pal participants feel the program is an effective way to form a positive connection with the next generation of consumers. 3,630 volunteers actively engaged students in the local communities to increase agricultural literacy.
Courtney Schaardt is the Director of Outreach Education for the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation. She directs the foundation’s agricultural literacy programming and serves as the Nebraska State Contact to the National Agriculture in the Classroom program. She leads curriculum development, teacher engagement, and volunteer training within the foundation. Courtney serves as leadership in the central region as one of the representatives to the National Agriculture in the Classroom Organization’s Executive Committee. Courtney began her work with the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation in 2014. She worked as the Program Assistant and Manager of Education Programs prior to being named the Director of Outreach Education and State Contact in June 2016. Courtney grew up in southeast Nebraska and spent most of her time working in her parent’s custom meat processing plant. She was active in 4-H & FFA which allowed her to spend time on her grandparent’s farm where she raised horses, cattle, and chickens.