PIQUA — School’s out for summer, but not for teachers taking part in the recent Curriculum for Agricultural Science Education (CASE) Institute held at the Upper Valley Career Center (UVCC).
On Thursday, UVCC finished their first time hosting the CASE Institute, which covered a full year of curriculum for principles of agricultural animal science for teachers over the course of two weeks, or eight full days, of labs and classes.
“They are learning the CASE Animal Science curriculum,” Michelle Brunson, instructional supervisor at UVCC, said. Brunson served as coordinator for the CASE Institute and worked closely with CASE staff, CASE lead teachers, and participating teachers from across the nation to help make the institute successful.
While at the CASE Institute, participants spent 65 hours working through nearly every lesson in the yearlong curriculum and learning how to deliver lessons using inquiry-based learning, which shifts focus in the classroom from teacher-led to student-directed learning.
“The curriculum is to last them through the entire school year, and they basically go through that whole curriculum in these eight full days,” Brunson said.
The CASE Institute is offered all over the United States, but Brunson worked to have one hosted at UVCC, as many of their young teachers were interested in attending a CASE Institute.
Five UVCC satellite teachers participated in the CASE Institute, including Jessica Helsinger of Covington schools, Nic Baumer of Bradford schools, Kreg McCullough of Newton schools, Derek McCracken of Houston schools, and Lindsey Whetstone of Jackson Center schools. There were also two local satellite instructors from the Miami Valley Career Technology Center taking part, including Marie Carity of Miami East schools and Betsy Martin of Milton-Union schools.
The majority of the other teachers taking part in the CASE Institute were from Ohio, although there were also teachers from Indiana, Maryland, West Virginia, Michigan, and Florida represented in the group.
The goal of the CASE Institute is to provide these teachers with hands-on lessons in order for them to then implement what they learned in their own classes during the school year.
“The institute and the curriculum that’s delivered is very inquiry-based and very hands-on,” Brunson said. “I’m excited to be able to see them deliver more of those science concepts in a very hands-on manner that they can then bring back to their classroom.”
The CASE Institute also allowed the teachers to work through the curriculum themselves from the perspective of the student, allowing them to collaborate with one another and identify any potential issues their students may have with a project or lesson.
“The teachers work through the curriculum as though they are the students, and then they also collaborate with one another on … what are some of the things that we see the students may struggle with, what are some things we can work through with this,” Brunson said. “There’s a lot of networking and collaboration between the teachers that are here and how they work deliver the curriculum and things they need to be prepared for, so they have basically worked through the curriculum like they’re students, but … moving through it pretty quickly.”
Ruth Chamelin of Maryland and Tedra Bean of New York, lead teachers presenting at the CASE Institute, commented that the CASE Institute held at UVCC was successful.
“It’s been great. It’s a great group,” Chamelin said. “Just a great area to be in. It’s been very convenient to do everything that we needed to do. It’s been wonderful.”
“I think they’re very excited,” Bean said about the teachers taking part. “I think they’re seeing everything come full circle,” Bean said.
The curriculum covered included a variety of labs, such as animal dissections of sheep and hogs as well as injections with chickens. The teachers also completed a taste-testing lab of milk and cheese to learn about milk quality and how taste could indicate if something was wrong with the cow. For another lab, the teachers did a fecal analysis to discover if certain animals had parasites. The lessons also included topics of feeds and housing for specific farm animals.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Chamelin said.
“We’re glad we could be here at the Upper Valley Career Center,” Bean said.
“This is an intense two weeks for the teachers, but definitely worth it. They will return home with a full year of curriculum and with the tools and resources needed,” Brunson said. “We have been fortunate to partner with Dr. Susie Whittington, Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Science professor. Not only did Whittington offer participants six-semester hours of college credit, she also initiated a successful grant application through which we received $15,000 from the Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association for CASE.”
The grant funds are to be distributed to attending Ohio teachers, allowing each to purchase $1,100 of CASE teaching supplies. Any remaining funds go to Upper Valley to partially offset the cost of hosting and facilitating the institute.
For more information about CASE, visit www.case4learning.org.