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In Atwater High School in Atwater, California, agriculture students are asking questions. They follow up these questions with hypotheses, experiments, data collection, and conclusions. These students are learning the scientific method in Elizabeth Knapp’s agriculture courses. Since combining agriculture and science courses five years ago, Atwater’s program has expanded from three sections of Ag Biology to sixteen sections of Ag Biology, Ag Life Science, Ag Earth Science, and Ag Environmental Science. Student enrollment soared from 344 to 824 individual students.


The program’s success is thanks to Elizabeth Knapp’s firm belief that agriculture courses should be hands-on with student-led discoveries based in the scientific method. By collaborating weekly with science teachers, Knapp has created an environment where students apply concepts they have learned in the classroom to their own agricultural activities. Because of her success, Elizabeth Knapp was selected as the 2011 National Agriscience Teacher of the Year.


The National Agriscience Teacher of the Year award recognizes teachers who have inspired and enlightened their students through engaging and interactive lessons in the science of agriculture.


Each year, one National Agriscience Teacher of the Year is selected from a group of four finalists at the National FFA Convention. This year’s finalists were Elizabeth Knapp, Michele Sutton, Sara Clark, and Matt Eddy. Each finalist receives a plaque, a $500 award, and a $1500 grant to purchase agriscience equipment for their school. They also receive round trip airfare, registration, and lodging for the NAAE convention.


As the National Agriscience Teacher of the Year award winner, Elizabeth Knapp receives a school plaque, an individual plaque, an additional $2000 award, and a $1500 grant to purchase agriscience equipment for her school.


Congratulations 2011 Agriscience Teacher of the Year, Elizabeth Knapp!