WESTMINSTER, CO – As the new school year begins, the Colorado Foundation for Agriculture continues its mission of connecting educators and students to their food, fiber, fuel, and natural resources through the Colorado Agriculture in the Classroom® program.
The purpose of the Colorado Foundation for Agriculture (CFA) is to advance agricultural literacy. CFA provides programs and resources for both virtual and in-person instruction in prekindergarten through 12th grade classes. Many of these programs and resources are free.
“It is said that today’s young people are at least four generations removed from a farm or ranch. Many students and educators have misconceptions about agriculture – such as brown cows make chocolate milk, that farming is an antiquated practice, or that food comes from the grocery store, among other misconceptions,” says Jennifer Scharpe, CFA executive director.
The Agriculture in the Classroom (AITC) program seeks to improve agricultural literacy – the awareness, knowledge, and appreciation of food, fiber, fuel, and natural resources – among prekindergarten through 12th grade teachers and their students. AITC strives to improve student achievement by applying authentic, agricultural-based content as the context to teach core curriculum concepts in science, social studies, language arts, and nutrition. By encouraging teachers to embed agriculture into their classroom, AITC cultivates an understanding and appreciation of the food and fiber system that we all rely on every day.
“The Colorado Foundation for Agriculture and the Agriculture in the Classroom program are unique within the agricultural education community as the lead organization to serve the full spectrum of preK-12 formal education,” continued Scharpe.
CFA has compiled a list of educational resources and programs to assist with distance/virtual and in-person preK-12 instruction. The list is available on the home page of the CFA website, http://www.GrowingYourFuture.com, by clicking on the link for distance and online educational resources. Many of the resources are free, easily accessible online, and are from the Colorado Foundation for Agriculture, National Agriculture in the Classroom Organization, other Agriculture in the Classroom state programs across the country, and partnering organizations. These resources have been vetted by CFA staff and, in most cases, the appropriate age level has been provided. The list has been divided into four categories: 1) Educational videos and virtual field trips; 2) Online learning resources; 3) Movies and TV series; and 4) eLearning lessons.
This list includes CFA’s feature resources including current and past issues of the Colorado Reader and six different Activity Books, and cover various topics including water, cattle, wool and sheep, Colorado produce, cooperatives, and more. The Colorado Readers and the Activity Books are available electronically through the CFA Digital Library or hard copies for students may be ordered free of charge from the CFA Online Store. The Digital Library and Online Store are available at GrowingYourFuture.com.
Also on the CFA website, teachers, parents, and non-formal educators looking for lesson plans and activities should check out the National Agricultural Literacy Curriculum Matrix. This is an online, searchable database of free, ready-to-use lesson plans, activities, and companion resources (books, games, etc.) for K-12 grade education. Many of the resources are hands-on and all incorporate national education standards in science, social studies and nutritional education with relevant resources linked to common core standards.
A new addition to the Curriculum Matrix are eLearning Lessons. These K-12 grade lessons and learning activities have been adapted from the Curriculum Matrix and are ready for student eLearning engagement. The instruction can be dropped into an online education platform (Google Classroom, Canvas, etc.). Follow the new #agbyte hashtag to be alerted to lesson plans and resources prepared for online classrooms.
Journey 2050 and Farmers 2050 are two excellent educational farm simulation games available free and online, with no in-app purchases. Both games ask students to think about how we will sustainably feed nearly 10 billion people by the year 2050. Students make decisions on their farm and see the impact on society, the environment, and the economy. Journey 2050 (Journey2050.com) is the classroom version and comes complete with a step-by-step guide of lesson plans, PowerPoint presentations, videos, and enriching activities for grades 7-12. The Journey 2050 lessons have also been adapted for eLearning and include teacher and student instructional videos for each lesson for self-guided learning. Farmers 2050 (Farmers2050.com) is the game version that can be played by anyone. It’s great for younger students, families, or as a follow up to Journey 2050.
For questions or more information on any of these resources, feel free to contact Jennifer Scharpe, CFA executive director, at Info@GrowingYourFuture.com or 970-818-3308.
The Colorado Foundation for Agriculture is a 501(c)3 nonprofit educational corporation and works with like-minded partners to provide its programs and resources. All of CFA’s funding is derived from monetary gifts from individuals and organizations, sponsorships from regional and state organizations and businesses, and various small grants. Consider making a tax deductible gift today to help achieve the vision of advancing agricultural literacy by visiting https://bit.ly/donatecfa.