Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Catching up on the CV Ag Science Action!

 Since my last post, many exciting events have gone on both inside and outside of the classroom! Let's jump back to the All-American to begin this recap...

Group photo from the All-American.
2nd place Dairy Management
After preparing a Dairy Management Team and a Dairy Judging Team to compete at the 50th All-American Dairy Show in their respective contests, the day had arrived to travel to Harrisburg for this milestone event.  The Dairy Judging Team judged 4 excellent classes of high-caliber cattle while the Dairy Management Team evaluated a class of cattle, interpreted DHIA benchmarks, identified common feedstuffs, and analyzed financial records.  When the dust settled, the Dairy Management Team placed 2nd in the FFA division and the Dairy Judging team members placed in the middle of the pack in their contest.  

Can you identify which feedstuff
has the highest source of rumen
digestible protein? This was one
of the stations during the Dairy
Management Contest.
Meanwhile, back in the classroom, students in Growing our Agricultural Leaders (GOAL) were busy planning the 2nd annual YOLO (Youth Overnight Leadership Operation) that is being hosted by CV FFA.  This 'lock-in' type event is aimed to be a recruitment event for new FFA members to give them a taste of the organization and to meet the upperclassmen within the chapter.

Students in CASE Animal Science began Unit 2 which investigated the classification of animals.  Several activities and projects allowed students to explore the scientific classification of a chosen animal that they will use for their Producer's Management Guide, which is a year-long project that will be completed piece by piece throughout the school year.  Another project included creating a dichotomous key to classify 10 breeds of livestock--quite a challenge, but the students stepped up and completed the task with precision and accuracy.

Student project from Activity 2.2.2
"Creature Classification."
In CASE Introduction to Ag, Food, and Natural Resources (AFNR), students continued to learn about the 3 circles of Agriculture Education, specifically the FFA organization.  Students investigated the components of FFA Official Dress, gained knowledge in FFA history, and successfully completed portions of 10 CDE (Career Development Event) stations to get a feel for what competitions exist at the local, state, and national levels.  In addition, these students also successfully started their first SAE (Supervised Agriculture Experience) for their time in Intro to AFNR.  Students are currently learning about how to begin an SAE within their interests outside of class time.  Some SAE ideas from students were raising quail, home improvement projects, and shadowing a veterinary technician! It will be awesome to see how these individual SAEs develop over the course of the year.

Project 2.2.3. Key to Breeds.
Students created a
dichotomous key to identify
10 breeds of dairy, beef,
sheep, swine, and goats.

And what would a week be without wrangling some sheep and alpacas for a petting zoo at a football game?  With the help of some dedicated FFA members, CV FFA hosted a farm animal education area as part of CV THON's tailgate before the home football game.  Sadie the sheep enjoyed her change of scenery while being transported to the event!

Sadie the sheep gets to
ride in style on the way to
the 'big show.'
Some highlights of the upcoming week include training the Agricultural Issues team for National Convention, preparing students for the Stockman's Contest at the Keystone International Livestock Expo, and continuing discussions surrounding animal welfare and animal rights in CASE Animal Science.  Several lively and thought-provoking discussions have taken place thus far and each day, students become more and more engaged in this unit that is focused on developing questioning skills and understanding personal opinions.

To follow more adventures of the Cumberland Valley Agriculture Science program and FFA chapter, please visitwww.cvschools.org/Ag and www.cvschools.org/FFA.  Follow the chapter on Twitter with the handle @CV_FFA.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

From Tomato Fields to the All-American...a Week to Remember!

Only 2 weeks into the school year, students enrolled in the Cumberland Valley Agriculture Education program can make a lengthy list of learning experiences that are opening their eyes to the world of agriculture!

Agriculture Education has
3 components that are critical
to a successful and
sustainable program.
The week began with students enrolled in Introduction to Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources (AFNR) enjoying a presentation from several CV FFA Officers about the endless opportunities available to them as FFA members.  As a student enrolled in an agriculture class, they are automatically members of the CV FFA chapter and all were encouraged to seek more information about chapter events such as YOLO, A-Day, and the Hunger Banquet.  On Wednesday & Thursday, the Intro to AFNR set up their first SAE (Supervised Agriculture Experience).  To gain skills and knowledge of record-keeping, each student will keep accurate records of their classroom learning and any agriculture activities completed outside the classroom.  Students will also be encouraged to establish an SAE outside of school to complement their career interests.  For more about SAEs, please visit this website.

A student working on creating a timeline.
Meanwhile, students enrolled in Animal Science started to learn concepts about animal domestication and how the uses of animals has changed over the past 5,000 years.  Students worked in groups of 3 to create a timeline project that was shared with other members of the class.  Animals researched included cattle, swine, dogs, cats, sheep, horses, and goats.  Students utilized their creativity to construct a timeline and associated 'fun facts' about their specie.
One group with their finished timeline
about sheep!

Friday proved to be quite a busy day, but ran smoothly due to enthusiastic students that worked hard to accomplish several endeavors.  Students in Introduction to AFNR got a chance to learn about the Hunger Garden at CV while harvesting over 1,000 tomatoes in a friendly competition.

Students were excited to take part in this project and are looking forward to more ways to get involved next spring!  

Students hard at work scouting ripe
tomatoes in the CV Hunger Garden.
Directly after school, 5 students traveled to the All-American Dairy Show to set up photo displays for the world-class cattle that will be competing in Harrisburg this week.  After setting up the floral displays with over 125 chrysanthemums and checking for final details, the group returned to CV for the first home football game of the year. The infamous "Farm Show Milkshakes" were being sold at the game as a fundraiser for the CV FFA chapter.  With a slow start, the demand for these popular items quickly escalated and over 900 milkshakes were sold before running out of materials!

One of 4 photo displays at the
All-American Dairy Show.

Although it was quite a busy week, the excitement and learning will continue next week as 8 students will compete at the All-American Dairy Show in the Dairy Judging Forum and the Dairy Management Contest. Students enrolled in "Growing our Agricultural Leaders (GOAL)" will investigate how a Golden Buddha and a Thermometer relate to their leadership development while Intro to AFNR will learn about numerous CDEs (Career Development Event) available through the National FFA Organization.  Animal Science students can look forward to an edible activity that introduces them to taxonomy and students enrolled in the SAE course will begin to reflect on how to improve their SAE through a tuning protocol.

Great things are happening at CV Agricultural Sciences! Stay tuned for more updates!


 To follow more adventures of the Cumberland Valley Agriculture Science program and FFA chapter, please visitwww.cvschools.org/Ag and www.cvschools.org/FFA.  Follow the chapter on Twitter with the handle @CV_FFA. 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Week 1--What a Whirlwind!

I’ve always heard the saying, “Time flies when you are having fun,” but the first week of the school year truly was over before it began.  After preparing my classroom, planning, and anxiously (and excitedly waiting), the first day of school finally arrived.  It was an excellent week to begin a new year of Agriculture Education at Cumberland Valley!

Rather than ‘taking it easy’ during the first week, I wanted to welcome students into an active classroom where learning happens through hands-on interactions and student-centered activities.  Students enrolled in CASE Introduction to Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources (AFNR) began investigations into the origins of agriculture and how this vast industry affects every person every day.  The week began with an active ‘trading game’ where students were randomly assigned food, shelter, and clothing items that could be traded with other groups in order for their group to ‘survive.’ Bringing things closer to home, students later worked in pairs to research common commodities grown across the United States.

Meanwhile, their peers in Growing our Agriculture Leaders (GOAL) began to analyze their style of leadership, the 4 stages of personal development, and the 4 steps to developing as an aspiring agriculture leader.  Students reflected upon their strengths, areas of improvement, and goals as an individual.  This is only the beginning of a reflective path that these young leaders will embark on throughout the year as they experience challenges, successes, and obstacles while leading their peers.

As the week came to a close, the process of planning, revising, and reflecting continued on my part as an instructor & FFA advisor.  Major goals for next week’s classes include introducing nearly 50 students to the online AET (Agriculture Experience Tracker) system so they can track their agricultural experiences and hosting practice sessions to prepare for the Junior Dairy Management Contest & Dairy Judging Forum at the All-American Dairy Show in Harrisburg, PA.  It promises to be another exciting week in the Agriculture Department!

To follow more adventures of the Cumberland Valley Agriculture Science program and FFA chapter, please visit www.cvschools.org/Ag and www.cvschools.org/FFA.  Follow the chapter on Twitter with the handle @CV_FFA.