Science teachers will receive free STEM-based training and materials at the Seed to STEM summer workshops sponsored by Kansas Corn. This is the third year of the popular two-day workshops that provide classroom instruction and labs using the topics of biotechnology and ethanol to bring science to life in high school and middle school classrooms. The deadline for science teachers to apply for the workshops is April 24. The two-day workshops will be held June 20-21 in Ottawa and June 26-27 in Wichita.
“We have had a lot of interest, but still have spaces available for both workshops. We encourage teachers to apply before the April 24deadline,” said Sharon Thielen, the Kansas Corn Commission’s Director of Education. “We work with eight Kansas lead science teachers who not only help teach the workshops, they are instrumental in creating the lessons and labs.”
Over the past two years, 95 science educators have completed the workshop that offers lessons and labs that meet the Next Generation Science Standards using agriculture as a focus. In addition to lessons and lab experiments focused on biotechnology and ethanol, the workshop includes a farm and field visit, an industry dinner and a field trip to an ethanol plant. Each science teacher who participates will walk away with valuable lab materials.
“There is an incredible amount of technology and science used in agriculture and the corn industry. We want to help teachers find ways to get students excited about science using corn and agriculture as a platform,” Kansas Corn Commission CEO Greg Krissek said. “In addition to providing the Seed to STEM workshops at no cost to teachers, the Kansas Corn Commission is supporting science education in our schools by giving each Seed to STEM teacher lab materials worth $500.”
The 2018 Seed to STEM workshops will feature new and updated labs. Each teacher will practice fourteen labs or activities that they can use in the classroom to help students learn about science in agriculture. At this year’s workshops, teachers will have the option to choose between a middle school and high school lab track. Labs will be focused on topics like corn exploration, corn fermentation, ethanol distillation, pipetting skills, plasmid modeling, GFP, soil, nutrient testing, DNA extraction, GMOs, DNA sentencing, weather and more. The labs will be taught by Kansas teachers who were selected from the 2017 and 2016 Seed to STEM workshops.
“We are excited to share the talents of our Kansas Seed to STEM lead teachers who have been involved in the development of new curriculum for this year’s workshops,” Thielen said. “We are also bringing experts in agronomy and ethanol into our workshops to provide insights and information as the participants are learning.”
The first day of Seed to STEM begins in classroom labs and ends with a farm tour and dinner on the farm. The second day of the workshop completes the lab activities and wraps up with a tour of an ethanol plant.
“Science teachers are important to us because science is important to agriculture,” Thielen said. “We cover the teachers’ on-site expenses, and we work to give them valuable, hands-on learning experiences in the classroom, in the labs, on the farm and at the ethanol plant.”