High school agriculture teachers Chad Aucoin, left, of Lake Charles-Boston Academy, and Ashley Richards of Perrydale High School in Oregon, practice procedures in giving shots to animals using chicken parts and blue dye during the Curriculum for Agricultural Science Education Institute hosted by McNeese State University's Harold and Pearl Dripps Agricultural Sciences Department.
Eleven high school agriculture teachers from Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, New Jersey, Oregon and Washington state crammed 36 weeks of material into two weeks at a national CASE (Curriculum for Agricultural Science Education) Institute hosted on the McNeese State University campus by the Harold and Pearl Dripps Agricultural Sciences Department.
These teachers are here to learn everything about animal science - from mitosis and creature classification to examining cell structure and diagnosing diseases - to enhance the student learning experience of agricultural science subject matter for their classrooms back home, according to Dwight Bertrand, McNeese instructor of agriculture.
CASE develops curriculum utilizing science inquiry for lesson foundation and concepts are taught using activity-, project- and problem-base instructional strategies. In addition to the curriculum aspect of CASE, the project ensures quality teaching by providing extensive professional development for teachers that leads to certification.
"Through its system of professional development, curriculum, assessment and certification, CASE equips teachers to elevate student experiences in the agriculture classroom and prepares students for success in college and careers emphasizing science, technology, engineering and math," said Bertrand.
McNeese is one of only nine universities that offer CASE Institutes and this is McNeese's fourth year to participate in the program.
Leslie Fairchild and Ruth Chamelin are the lead teachers for this year's institute.
Fairchild said CASE takes old content and helps agricultural science teachers find new and engaging ways in which to present the material into the classroom. "We want our teachers to return to their classrooms and connect with their students with relevant content."
Tiffany Morey, a teacher at Essex County Vocational Technical Schools in Newark, N.J., said this is her third CASE institute. "I teach plant science, animal science and introduction to agriculture, food and natural resources, and at CASE, I learn how to integrate well-balanced content with exciting activities into the curriculum."
Teacher Jason Hammerberg, who teaches both plant and animal science in the Eastmont School District in Wenatchee, Wash., is attending his first CASE institute. "This is a great conference. I am working with professional colleagues and picking up useful information to bring back to my classrooms."
Melissa Fennell, a recent McNeese agricultural education graduate from Denham Springs, will head up the new agricultural sciences program at Belle Chasse High School this fall. " I am excited about this opportunity. I will be teaching classes in food science, horticulture and animal science with the latest in technology such as smart boards and Skype. This institute offers me the tools - lesson plans, resources, activities and more - to help me engage students to learn."