Ideas from the State FFA Convention

The State FFA Convention is a great place to inspire studetns to try new things. This is the first convention I brought with me middle school students to the convention. The middle school students were very excited about the opportunities that they were learning about. Again and again during the convention I heard the phrase “I could do that” from my students.  That phrase lead into some great converstaions at Culvers during lunch. Our discussion lead to an idea of partnering with the 7th grade science fair. Some projects we discussed were; a study on the best way to reheat frozen pizza, a study on the best potato to french fry, the effect of french fry shape on cooking time, how much ice is needed for your soft drink at Culvers when the drink is chilled before it is dispensed, and the strechiness of cheese of the standard frozen pizza.

Students also shared ideas about different Superviesed Agricultural Experince projects. My community is steeped in Amish Ag Tourism so my studetns thought it would be great to make barn quilts for farms around town to promote the local dairy scene to the people coming out to see the horse and buggies. Other students realized that their projects at home were on par with what they saw on stage at convention.

State convention may be the end of the year for the FFA chpater but it is a great beginning for new ideas and motivation.




Unit Layouts and Assessment Counts

Reflecting on classroom procedures and how it feeds into the behavior of students I have been writing new material for my classes. Starting with Food Science because I can try out new content this summer during my summer school class and it will be one of the first things I will teach next year. I plan to start each unit with essential unit vocabulary. Each unit will have the Unit Plan attached to the formative assessment packets. The students will get at least four grades for each unit. The first is for the vocabulary formative assessment, then the packet of worksheets, and at the end the summative tests for vocabulary and unit content. Each week students must log time and activities of their Supervised Agricultural Experience on the Agricultural Experience Tracker.

At the end of a semester with each unit lasting 2 weeks. At minimum there will be 18 AET journal grades, 36 unit grades, SAE plan grade, SAE presentation grade, and  an SAE record book grade. In total, there will be 57+ assessments for each class. 5 of the classes I teach each semester follow this model. Round the assessments up to 60 then there are over 300 assessments per class. That isn’t even counting multiplying by each student in each class. even with a class of 10 students there are 3000 things to grade every semester. Each week it averages 167 data points.

Focusing on Food Science and its second semester companion dairy science keeping the Ag courses hands on is important in the learning scheme. For food science students will be doing labs in the Ag Department’s foods lab. Dairy science has the convenience of going outside the classroom and touring dairy farms.

Food Science Labs

  • Brats
  • Hot Dogs
  • Jerky
  • Snack Sticks
  • Mayo
  • Cheese
  • Yogurt
  • Ice Cream
  • Deer Processing

Dairy Farm Tours

  • Organic Dairy Farm
  • Parlor Barn (less than 1000)
  • Parlor Barn (1000-2000)
  • Parlor Barn (more than 2000)
  • Rotary Milking
  • Robotic Milking
  • Accelerated Genetics Tour
  • Stanchion Milking
  • Feed Mill Tour