How are indoor barns impacting animal care? What is sustainable agriculture? How are new technologies improving water efficiency? These are the questions that are answered for high school students through U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance’s (USFRA) Discovering Farmland curriculum. With food production’s connection to science, economics, technology and sustainability, these topics make agriculture relatable to students highlighting how farming and ranching has evolved over several decades.
The Discovering Farmland curriculum uses the award-winning documentary, “FARMLAND,” a film by James Moll, as a foundation. It gives teachers and high school students a first-hand glimpse into agriculture through the eyes of six young farmers and ranchers. Through standards-aligned companion activities, 360-degree farm animal videos, and a Digital Exploration (exploring food product labels), these engaging resources bring the film and the agriculture industry directly into the classroom.
“New technologies continually improve animal welfare and environmental sustainability, and we’re excited to share our accomplishments in agriculture with others,” said Brad Greenway, USFRA Chairman and South Dakota diversified crop and animal farmer. “The Discovering Farmland curriculum sparks conversations with students about innovations enhancing our food supply, and these unique activities keep them intrigued.”
Launched in September, Discovering Farmland’s newest activities include:
- 360-Degree Videos: Animal safety, health, comfort and environmental sustainability are common concerns expressed in regards to raising animals for food. The 360-degree videos are one-of-a-kind immersion experiences of life inside a modern pig farm.
- Interactive Lesson Plans and Activities: With 12 different videos supporting PowerPoint-based lessons plans and activities, engaging topics include: How to Use Trash to Help Crops Grow, Breaking Down Stereotypes, and Sustainability Practices in Modern Farming, among several others.
- Digital Exploration: Students can investigate food product labels by choosing a specific product from virtual grocery store shelves featuring produce, meat, and cereal. It also includes an educator guide and Get to Know GMOs activity.
To promote these lesson plans more broadly, USFRA partnered with Discovery Education, the leading provider of digital content and professional development for K-12 classrooms, who created lessons that are flexible and easy to integrate for teachers. By aligning the lessons plans to the Next Generation Science Standards and agribusiness standards, in addition to C3 Framework Standards for Social Studies, the content can be integrated into a variety of settings. Serving 4.5 million educators and over 50 million students, Discovery Education’s services are in half of U.S. classrooms and more than 50 countries.
“This initiative has inspired students with an innovative curriculum that brings to life critical issues impacting the agriculture industry, such as sustainability, the new science and technology behind farming, and entrepreneurship,” said Randy Krotz, U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance CEO. “With the Discovering Farmland project reaching more than one million students, we want to continue that momentum and help inform the next generation of consumers.”
These resources are available to all high school students across the country at discoveringfarmland.com and will become available through Discovery Education Streaming. For more information about Discovery Education’s digital content and professional development services, visit discoveryeducation.com. Stay connected with Discovery Education on social media through Facebook, Twitter at @DiscoveryEd, or on Instagram and Pinterest.