It’s almost that time of year again – time to pack your bags and head to your CASE Institute! For some, it may be the first time you have traveled out of state for professional development. For others, it may be your fifth certification or you are preparing as a Lead Teacher. Either way, Curriculum for Agricultural Science Education (CASE) has something to offer every agriculture teacher.
We are in a new age of education, where inquiry is king and student learning is about application rather than lectures with notes. Whether you are a veteran ag teacher with more years under your belt than you can count, or just getting started in your teaching career, CASE pathways are a great way to provide your students with rigorous coursework that promotes critical thinking, hands-on application, and student inquiry -- all while enhancing mathematics and science in agricultural curriculum.
For Brianne McCauley, agriculture teacher at Liberty High School in Clarksburg, W. Va., the structured sequence of courses provided through CASE has allowed her to focus on individualized student learning and classroom management. A CASE certified teacher in Introduction to Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources, Principles of Agricultural Science – Animal, Principles of Agricultural Science - Plant, Natural Resources and Ecology, Animal and Plant Biotechnology, Environmental Science Issues, and Agricultural Research and Development, McCauley is able to experience the lightbulb moment when her students make connections in their learning to real-life scenarios.
CASE provides curriculum and lesson plans so my focus can be on my teaching techniques and meeting student needs. I love being able to focus on my students and the way they learn,” said McCauley.
Currently, there are five CASE Program of Study pathways: Animal Science, Plant Science, Agricultural Engineering, Natural Resources and Agribusiness. Each pathway includes four courses that scaffold and build student understanding as rigor and comprehension levels develop.
The scaffolding aspect of the CASE pathway design has been a tremendous help for Jamie Christiansen. Christiansen has taught agriculture for 12 years, currently at Midland Community School District, in Wyoming, Iowa.
“CASE is organized and builds on itself,” said Christiansen. “You’re always coming back to information to reinforce learning.”
Christiansen adds that watching her students question research and each other’s experiments validates the effectiveness of CASE curriculum. As a CASE certified teacher in Introduction to Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources, Principles of Agricultural Science - Animal, Principles of Agricultural Science - Plant, Food Science and Safety, and Agricultural Research and Development, she knows that she will walk away from a CASE Institute fully prepared to teach the material.
Josh Day, agriculture teacher at Tipton High School, in Tipton, Iowa also attests to the benefits of CASE curriculum.
“CASE ties what we have been doing in our agriculture programs directly to national standards in core content areas,” said Day. “It proves that what we teach is the application of core content.”
Day is also certified in multiple CASE courses – Introduction to Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources, Principles of Agricultural Science - Animal, Principles of Agricultural Science - Plant, Agricultural Power and Technology, Natural Resources and Ecology, Animal and Plant Biotechnology, and Agricultural Research and Development. Like Christiansen and McCauley, he values the scaffolding aspect of CASE curriculum as well as being able to reach all of his students, no matter their agricultural background.
Regardless of which CASE pathway is offered, the structured sequence of courses increases the rigor of students’ coursework while spiraling and scaffolding content knowledge and technical skills