9-Week 6th Grade Agricultural Education Curriculum

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2023-05
Authors
Ewing, Amy
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Sterle, Jodi
Miller, Gregory
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Abstract
In the United States, less than 11% of the population works in the agricultural and food sectors (USDA, 2021). Whereas from the frontier days, most if not all of the population was directly involved in agriculture. From a large portion of the population being directly involved in agriculture, to around 11% - agricultural literacy and agriculturally literate individuals have decreased. Agriculture literacy can be defined as an understanding and possessing a knowledge of our food and fiber system. An individual possessing such knowledge would be able to synthesize, analyze, and communicate basic information about agriculture (Frick, 1990). Agricultural educators and programs have known the decreasing population of those being directly involved in agriculture, making it more important to increase agricultural literacy. A way for agriculture education programs to improve upon this is the implementation of middle school/junior high agricultural education programs. Middle school agricultural education programs are common in small schools or larger schools with multiple-teacher programs. These programs can vary greatly between schools. Middle school programs can go down to fifth grade up to eighth grade and differ in the amount of weeks. Middle school programs have been increasing in popularity as middle school members can now be FFA members in recent years. Middle school agriculture programs are implemented to start exposing students to the opportunities within the agricultural industry. Students are offered hands-on learning experiences while gaining insight about basic agriculture. Agriculture education is an elective and is not required for students to take. Core classes like math, science, or english are required. Middle school agriculture however, seems to be a required exploratory class. This is for them to experience different domains offered by the school and to spark interests before they are in high school. However, there seems to be a lack of curriculum for agriculture, especially middle school curriculum. There are very few curriculum resources for this targeted age group that are continuously updated to provide a high quality agriculture education, and to match the needs of specific programs.
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2023