Ohio Soybean Farmers Supporting Educator Professional Development

July 1, 2021 Ohio Soybean Council

Thanks to checkoff funding, Ohio teachers have great professional events coming up! Th ese free workshops will allow teachers to get the professional development credit they need while gaining a better understanding of the science involved in modern agriculture led by Ohio Soybean Council’s GrowNextGen curriculum.

“Experience Food Science: Field to Package” helps teachers learn  more about food science, one of Ohio’s in-demand industries. Th is July 8 workshop will show how the principles of chemistry and biology apply to the development of safe and secure food  products.

In this Springfield workshop, participants will make soy chocolate in hands-on lab activities that meet food science standards. They’ll also learn about quality assurance, food safety,  product development; design a label including an ingredients list; and develop a marketing strategy. They will take a virtual field trip and receive $100 of classroom supplies and continuing education credit.

A partnership between the Center for Innovative Food Technology (CIFT) and Ohio Soybean Council, this event will also provide information on the Food Industry Associate and Food Industry Specialist credentials. These verify high school student expertise in the areas of agriculture, food and natural resources, bioscience, food science and safety, bioresearch and food  marketing and research.

“Ag Biotech Graduate Academy” will take place on July 13 and 14 at Otterbein University. Th is workshop, sponsored by Pioneer and the Ohio Soybean Foundation, builds  on science concepts taught in years past in the popular Ag Biotech Academy.

Participants will advance existing biotech skills and knowledge as they learn about CRISPR, protein analysis, weed  resistance, bioinfomatics, and data analysis. They will spend the first day doing hands-on activities that demonstrate the power of CRISPR, how proteins are measured both qualitatively and  quantitatively, instruction on developing and analyzing phylogenetic trees, understanding quantitative PCR, and exploring the NCBI database.

A dinner will follow, with industry leaders on hand  to answer questions about their company and/or research areas. Teachers always rate this dinner highly on post-event evaluations, as they appreciate the opportunity to talk directly to farmers  and industry experts. The second day of the workshop will include assessment of the results of a CRISPR experiment, an applied bioinformatics case study on weed resistance, and a field trip to a  research facility.

September will include another popular workshop, ChickQuest, a 4-H Enrichment Program developed for elementary students to investigate the life cycle of an embryonic chicken egg. Teachers are trained in science, engineering, and technology activities, then provided with materials to lead their students in these lessons. Over 100,000 students have been reached over the  past 8 years.

“We’re excited to expand the program to include middle and high school teachers with new activities,” said Wood County soybean farmer and OSC Board Member Nathan Eckel. Workshops for these levels will be held in the fall and winter. “Due to the popularity of this program, we expect these to fill up quickly,” Eckel said.

Ohio teachers are quite fortunate to have the support and sponsorship of Ohio soybean farmers, providing engaging learning and useful supplies that they can take back to their classrooms. You can learn more at grownextgen.org/events.