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This school year, middle school students across Missouri will have the opportunity to explore agriculture through a new curriculum sponsored by FCS Financial and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

The curriculum, developed by teachers, ag industry professionals and Vivayic, consists of six topic areas each spanning nine weeks. Over the next three years, two topic areas per year will be released. With flexibility in mind, the modules are structured so teachers can mix and match experiences from topic areas within one quarter of instruction. Additionally, they are designed to provide quarter, semester or yearlong exploratory agriculture classes for middle school students.

“The new Exploring Agriculture Curriculum provides my middle school students practical and real-world experiences within the agriculture industry,” says Keriann Brandt, Agriculture Teacher at Monroe City High School who tested the curriculum last spring. “Both the plant science and animal science lessons strengthen my courses and present the information in fun and easy to understand ways. I also love the flexibility as a teacher to mix and match the lessons to fit my particular needs.”

In the 2019-2020 school year, Exploring Animal Science and Exploring Plant Science will launch.  Exploring Animal Science focuses on animal classification, selection, care and production. Exploring Plant Science includes emerging plant technologies­­ along with plant and crop production and care. Additionally, four independent Introduction to the Ag Industry lessons are also included. Each one-week lesson explores agriculture in a different context: agriculture in the local community, Missouri, United States or in the world. 

"I enjoyed piloting the new Exploring Agriculture Curriculum with my 7th graders last year, the curriculum is very interactive and hands-on which allowed students to become more involved with their learning and allowed me to teach using new methods," says Cheyenne Martin, Ag Teacher and FFA Advisor at Grundy County R-V High School.

To celebrate the release of each topic area, FCS Financial is hosting a video contest for public schools located in their service area. Teachers can assign the video project to students enrolled in an exploring agriculture course and submit the top two videos per topic area to FCS Financial for a chance to win $500 for their classroom. FCS Financial employees will vote for the top video of each topic based on all submissions. Contest begins November 1, 2019, and all submissions are due by April 1, 2020. Contact FCS Financial at marketing@myfcsfinancial.com for additional contest details.

“A quality education is dependent on teachers having access to current and relevant curriculums,” says David Janish, FCS Financial CEO. “We are proud to work with DESE and sponsor development of the ag curriculum to help teachers who are shaping the minds that will be the future of our industry.”

In 2020, Exploring Food Science and Exploring Natural Resources will be released. Followed by Exploring Ag Systems Technology and Exploring Agribusiness in 2021.

The curriculum is stored on the Missouri FFA website at no cost to Missouri agriculture teachers. Teachers should contact Marie Davis at Marie.Davis@dese.mo.gov  for access. If you are a homeschool teacher, contact Marie Davis at Marie.Davis@dese.mo.gov for additional information.

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