WCA 8th Grade: Ag Issues Presentation
Over the course of 2 weeks, 8th grade students enrolled in Introduction to Agriculture focused their efforts on Ag Issues as a part of their curriculum. Classes spent time in research and discussion identifying issues locally, nationally, globally which affect the current agriculture industry.
Instructors assigned students to small groups. Each selected an issue to research from pro and con perspectives. Then groups presented their topic along with fact-based research to their class mates. Agriculture instructors each selected a group from their classes to present some of the topics to the entire 8th grade. Special community guests: Mike Ott, Vice President - Star Financial Bank, Kennedy St. George - Marketing Director for Whitley County Economic Development Corporation, and Scott Werstler - Whitko School Board member evaluated the presentations. Topics included: hunting, oil drilling, animal testing, antibiotic use in livestock, and animal rights and welfare.
Near the conclusion of the event, a brief Q&A session was opened to those in attendance. Ott, St. George, and Werstler then had the chance to ask questions of all 8th graders regarding their projects and lessons they learned throughout the process. The winning presentation was a group of students from Rorger Carr's class. Students Maggie Clark, Keeli Dennis, Carli Reeser, Josephine Scott, Chaselynn Neer presented a real-life protest skit explaining the pros and cons of using animals in research and testing.
Instructor Kelley Sheiss and her class are working with a variety of animals in the Whitko Ag Facility. Current animals in the facility being cared for and learned about include pigs, goats, sheep, and rabbits.
As a part of their daily care, students are mucking out stalls, feeding and even monitoring animal weight. This week's pigs weighed in on average between 50 and 60 pounds. The weights of the pigs are averaged due to the fact that they are weighed as a group three at a time.
A little further into the spring, Kelley Sheiss has plans to have students each learn to show an animal with which they are unfamiliar and at an event that will include some VIP participation that is sure to brighten student morale.
WCA 9th - 12th Grade
Animal and Plant Science students are participating in project-based learning initiatives in AgriScience. Agricultural science is a broad multidisciplinary field of biology that encompasses the parts of exact, natural, economic and social sciences used in the practice and understanding of agriculture.
Guided by instuctors Matt Dice and Kelley Sheiss, students were assigned the task of identifying a question that would require research-based activity and data to answer. Students embarked on the projct in January and will continue working weekly on their projects through the end of the semester at which time they will turn in a comprehensive report of their findings.
Instructor Matt Dice is also facilitating a diverse array of projects with upperclassmen. Projects may also be selected for submission to the Indiana Future Farmers of America State AgriScience Community Development Entity contest in June. Students selected projects based on their class area of focus including: plant systems, animal systems and/or natural resources.
After determining their hypothesis question, students developed a list of materials and methods needed for their projects. By early March of 2021, most students had began their projects and collecting data. Projects include feeding trials on pigs, goats, sheep, rabbits, chickens and quail, and additionally the effects of varying fertilizer mediums on succulents, aquaponics, maple syrup, and organic vs.non-organic foods.
Up next for Dice's class in the spring includes raising crawdads for observation and experimentation. Experiments may include crawdad food preferences and care in the initial stages.