This is a feature from the June 2018 edition of NAAE’s News & Views Newsletter. To read News & Views in its entirety, please visit this link.
Curriculum for Agricultural Science Education (CASE) is continuing to prepare students across the nation through industry and critical thinking skills with the addition of its Mechanical Systems in Agriculture (MSA) course. As a specialization-level course, MSA is designed to provide students with rigorous applications in the agricultural engineering field. Throughout the course, students will use technical skills to investigate small engines, agricultural structures, automation, and technology. As a result, they will become competent in the process used to operate, repair, engineer, and design agricultural tools and equipment.
As with all CASE courses, the MSA course has been carefully designed to scaffold student learning within the course and throughout the agricultural engineering pathway. Students will gain hands-on experiences with engineering design, computer aided design, 3D printing, structural systems, small engines, robotics, mechanical drivetrains, fluid power, and geographic information and global positioning systems.
The field test CASE Institute for this course is scheduled for July in Iowa. Mark Meyer and John Bergin have been selected as the Lead Teachers for this institute. Both Meyer and Bergin have been involved with CASE for many
years and are looking forward to working with the teachers selected for this year’s field test.
“This CASE course combines my passion for agriculture, mechanical ‘things,’ science, and engineering,” said Meyer. “Topics like robotics, electricity, CAD, 3D printing, pneumatics, and a systems approach to small engines are things that I love learning about and want to share with teachers and students.”
Through their combined experience and passion for agricultural mechanics, Meyer and Bergin offer teachers in the field test course expert knowledge and insight into properly implementing the MSA curriculum into their agriculture programs.
"Specialization level courses are unique," said Bergin. "The MSA course takes you out of the monoculture 'shop project' curriculum and allows students to engage with the science behind agricultural mechanics."
As STEM continues to be a hot topic in the education field, it is a priority that agricultural education continues to grow and enhance its curriculum with science-based applications. The MSA course is an excellent example of developing higher-order thinking and problem solving in agricultural mechanics curriculum.
“The core goal of both MSA and APT is to prepare students to be independent problem solvers in the agricultural mechanics field by in engaging students in core science principles, technical skills, engineering skills and math applications,” said Carl Aakre, CASE Curriculum Coordinator for the MSA course.
Students enrolled in the MSA course will be able to practice technical skills including reading prints, troubleshooting machines, documenting an engine teardown and assembly, reading schematics, researching machine replacement parts, and calculating production efficiencies. They will also delve into agricultural engineering and gain experience with prototype development, computer aided design (CAD), 3D printing, documentation of machine processes, machine automation and programming, testing designs for structural integrity, and calculating machine speed and power. The course will conclude with a final engineering project, which students choose based upon their course experiences and personal interest.
CASE would like to thank its sponsors John Deere and Firestone for sponsoring the development of the Mechanical Systems in Agriculture course, as a special project of the National FFA Foundation.
For more information about this course follow this link.