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Natural Resources & Ecology
The writers are putting the finishing touches on CASE's newest course, Natural Resources and Ecology, or NRE, and not a minute too soon, since there are two field test institutes scheduled for this summer. By attending a field test institute, teachers get first shot at being trained to teach CASE's NRE course. They also provide periodic feedback CASE will use to revise the course before it is released to the general public next year.
A foundation level course intended for sophomores, NRE will help students examine their own perceptions of the environment, move them through the process of understanding the management of natural resources, and culminate by encouraging them to look forward and think about policies and practices for the future.
Parker Bane, a CASE teacher who is hosting a NRE field test at his high school in Pontiac, Il,, is looking forward to implementing the curriculum because he believes it will expand on what he's already offering in that area. "We have a lot of students that like wildlife and like a lot of the things that are going on with wildlife," he said. "I don't think they understand all the career opportunities available to them in this area. I know the CASE take on it will include a lot of science, and hopefully that will help me market this not only to my traditional students who like hunting, fishing and trapping, but to students who are interested in things like wildlife biology, water quality, and other portions of the natural resources industry."
If you are interested in field testing the CASE NRE course next year, visit this link to download and complete a field test application. Field test sites are chosen based on a variety of factors, including prior CASE experience, content knowledge and school demographics.
The CASE Natural Resources and Ecology Course is sponsored by CSX and Mosaic as a special project of the National FFA Foundation. For more information about NRE and all CASE courses, visit the CASE website.
Animal and Plant Biotechnology
Twenty-three agriculture teachers are right now, at this moment, helping CASE refine its newest course, Animal and Plant Biotechnology, or APB, by field testing it in their classrooms this year.
APB, a specialization course designed for juniors and seniors, challenges students to become independent learners in laboratory settings designed to mimic the environment found in biotech industry labs. The course is designed to prepare students to work in biotechnology labs right out of high school, but also prepares them for the many biotech opportunities in higher education.
Through the course, students complete labs like DNA extraction and analysis using gel electrophoresis, bacterial transformation, and protein purification. They also identify GMOs in plants using lateral flow strips and polymerase chain reaction, and explore marker assisted selection, immunology, micropropagation, bioremediation, and biofuels.
APB also integrates core content and aligns with national agriculture standards, science standards, and common core state standards for English language arts.
APB is proving to be a rigorous course that requires a background in biotechnology for both the teacher and student. "We will be sending teachers who sign up for the APB institutes this summer textbooks so they can do some pre-work before they come," said Miranda Chaplin, CASE Operations Coordinator.
The APB course culminates in a student-designed research project for the Agriscience Fair. With regional, state and national agriscience fairs available, students will be able to exhibit their knowledge and skills pertaining to research and biotechnology, and the activity provides a tie-in with FFA.
Revisions based on field test feedback are already underway, and CASE is offering two institutes this summer where teachers can train to teach the new APB curriculum in their own classrooms next fall. To learn more or sign up, visit the CASE website.
The CASE Animal and Plant Biotechnology course is sponsored by the MetLife Foundation and the United Soybean Board as a special project of the National FFA Foundation.
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