Incubating Education for Students and Teachers Alike

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Crystal Ahrens, left, Louisiana 4-H Animal Science specialist, and Emily Hagan-Hurst
show off baby chicks and alligators during the embryological unit comparing the two animals.

Louisiana 4-H is excited to hatch new experiences for students and teachers.

A new 4-H course is helping bring agriculture back to the classroom by teaching the science of embryology and supplying incubators to teachers so students can learn through watching a chick grow.

The new Louisiana 4-H embryology supplemental curriculum for third and eighth grades provides teachers the support and materials needed to provide a high-quality science, technology, engineering and mathematics education.

“The 4-H embryology unit supports my needs as a teacher meeting educational requirements, teaching in a new high-level student-led pedagogy and provides my students with rare agriculture experiences,” said West Feliciana Middle School teacher Emily Hagan-Hurst, who hosted the first embryology teacher training for 4-H.

K-12 teachers meet many barriers when integrating agriculture into existing lesson plans that meet national education standards for specific subject areas. Teachers often do not have enough time, or they lack the proper curricula, supplies, materials and base knowledge.

The Louisiana 4-H embryology supplemental curriculum addresses the direct need for incorporation of agriculture in the classroom to build agricultural literacy while breaking the barriers of time, curricula and base knowledge by providing complete NGSS standards-based lessons with background information for teachers. New professional development training opportunities enhance program delivery.

Teaching agricultural literacy does not require significant curriculum modification, but it does entail innovative uses of common classroom resources and examples.

The 2019-20 school year was the kick-off for our new 4-H embryology supplemental curriculum in 26 classrooms across Louisiana. Pilot teachers attended a two-day teacher training at LSU where they received professional development training in inquiry-based, student-led teaching methods. Teachers attending training also received completed lesson plans and curriculum supply kits as well as tabletop incubators so they can watch a chick grow in the classroom.

Louisiana 4-H program is excited to partner with school districts across the state to enrich students’ educational experiences. The 4-H embryology program pilot teachers and their feedback are essential to next year’s wide release of an exceptional embryology unit.

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Students from Emily Hagan-Hurst’s West Feliciana Middle School eighth grade science class place eggs into the incubator.

2/11/2020 4:47:19 PM
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The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture