Saturday, November 9, 2013

And the Labs Begin!

After much preparation and anticipation, we have reached the point of the year where investigation, discovery, and experiments will be the norm for both CASE Introduction to AFNR and CASE Animal Science courses.

Students in Intro to AFNR (5th period)
brainstorm topics for their group project.  This
group decided to investigate Small Animal
Care & Management careers.
In Introduction to Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources (AFNR), students have just finished up their unit on communications.  Students learned about the importance of verbal and non-verbal communication, written communication, and professional interactions with peers, adults, and community leaders.  Highlights of the unit included presenting a 3-minute speech on your favorite things in agriculture, learning a proper handshake, and participating in a mock meeting to learn the basics of parliamentary procedure.  The unit concluded with Project 2.2.3 "Teaming Up" where students were put to the test to work with their peers to research the educational needs of jobs in production agriculture.  Groups researched topics from the dairy industry to aquaculture and found many interesting career opportunities and post-secondary institutions where further education can be gained.
Can you identify any equipment pictured here?
After Activity 3.1.1., all students in Intro to
AFNR can identify all pieces of equipment
with 100% accuracy!

What's up next for Intro to AFNR you may ask? Well, it's finally time to jump into Unit 3: The Science of Agriculture! Students will begin to learn the basics of lab safety within the Agricultural Science lab and become acquainted with high-tech equipment that will be used throughout the duration of their high school career.  Beginning next week, students will begin Activity 3.1.1. "Measure Me."

Students observe the
movement of meal worms
in Part 1 of the experiment.
One group's experimental design
tested if meal worms were drawn
to soil, grass, meal worm nutrient,
or an acidic solution. What is your
prediction? Why?
Meanwhile in CASE Animal Science, students have been conducting their first laboratory experiment that they got to design! How awesome is it to design and conduct your own experiment? After learning about an animal's response to it's environment through an observational lab, students got the chance to design an experiment that tested the response of meal worms to a change in their environment during Activity 3.2.1. "Response to Environment." Students had to have their research procedures approved by the instructor prior to setting up the experiment and collecting data.  Groups selected changing variables such as color of the desk (red versus black), acidic or basic conditions, lightness or dark, and the bedding material surrounding the meal worms to see how they responded to a change in their environment.  At the conclusion of the experiment, students had to graph their results and share them with the class to compare and contrast the results and trends.

Another group observes their experiment
that tested the hypothesis that mealworms
were drawn to an acidic solution.
One example of the growth observed in a
petri dish over 7 days.
 In addition, students learned about the importance of biosecurity by culturing dirty work books, door handles, and saliva samples to replicate a 'breach of biosecurity' on a farm.  Students observed the growth within their petri dishes to determine which scenario caused the most bacterial growth and posed the biggest risk to their livestock in Activity 3.3.2. "Biosecurity--Managing Risk."  

Stay tuned for more exciting classroom investigations into the "Science of Agriculture!"

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