Atlantic School Board learns about CASE

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 15th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic Board of Education heard a presentation Monday night from High School Ag Instructor and Atlantic FFA Advisor, Eric Miller. Miller spoke with regard to the district’s proposed CASE curriculum. CASE stands for Curriculum for Agriculture, Science and Education.Miller says the concept is for science- or inquiry-based learning. More specifically, it focuses on math and science, and how those areas relate to agriculture.

Atlantic H.S. Ag Instructor Eric Miller.

Atlantic H.S. Ag Instructor Eric Miller.

He says the curriculum allows a student to see the benefits of math and how it pertains to their agricultural experience. Miller says students sometimes don’t realize how important math is for their careers, whether it’s in agriculture, other industries and trades. He says the program involves student-led agriculture, also. Miller says students have to learn how a process works and find the answer to a question that they develop on their own, through the scientific process.

The program is offered in a year-long course, which Atlantic has not had in quite a while. Miller said it’s a nod back to “The old style of teaching agriculture.” One of the topics is AFNR (Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources), an entry level course. Later offerings may include animal and plant sciences. Miller says the curriculum goes along with the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) courses many schools are teaching, and is aligned with national Ag standards as well as the Iowa Core curriculum.

The big issue he says is the cost. In order for Miller to attend the 10-day certification course, 8-hours per day, is $2,500 plus $10,000 for books and materials. He says some of the equipment can be borrowed from the Science Department at the high school, to save cost, but some will need to be purchased throughout the year. Miller says he has also applied for a $5,000 grant from Pioneer. The CASE curriculum is currently being offered in the Audubon and Griswold School Districts, but is not yet offered in Atlantic.