March 2013
Issue: 5
U.S. Sen. Al Franken laughs while being quizzed on agricultural topics by Sue Knott during the Minnesota Science Teachers Convention in Duluth.
In This Issue
Teacher Feature
Educational Conferences
Fantastic Resources
National Conference
Grant Winners
MN Farmers Feed Us
Upcoming Events
Like us on Facebook 
Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom
Very soon we will be trading our winter parkas for spring jackets.  Whether spring is like a lion or lamb, find ways to celebrate agriculture!  Buds on trees, new chicks and lambs, and planting fields and gardens are just a few of the visible signs of spring with agricultural roots.

 Teacher Feature


Featured Teacher  - Ms. Ann Marie Ward

4-H Program Coordinator for Beltrami County

University of Minnesota Extension Youth Development


Why did you choose to become an educator?

There is a true joy in watching youth (and parents) put the pieces together when learning something new.  The best part of learning, as well as education, is the hands-on experiences that cement the lessons/messages.  I am very proud of the opportunity to teach life skills through 4-H outreach adventures, site-based programs, club experiences and leadership events..

How has agriculture and the Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom Program impacted your students and instruction?

The resources available from Ag in the Classroom are incorporated into many of the adult and youth presentations and programs that we deliver in Beltrami County 4-H. Activities and materials obtained through our local Farm Bureau Promotion and Education volunteers started me on the road to using the "placemats" at events where we had larger groups. Then I started using them as discussion starters in small groups. The web-site is wonderful and the curriculum tools based on the state's standards of learning are most helpful as we work with several 21st Century Learning Programs. The quality experiential learning programs of 4-H are further enhanced in our county with the use of Ag in the Classroom resources. Ag Mag and Ag Mag Jr, along with Minnesota Agriculture & You are fabulous tools, there really is something for every audience I work with. 

Why do you believe it is important for our students to be agriculturally literate and aware in today's society? 

Most families are not engaged in the harvest to plate process - food does not grow at the store, land is necessary to grow trees to build houses, and the world imports and exports change our diets, our health and our society. Inspiring youth to learn more and invest in their world will make a healthier stronger society for the future of all of us. Youth need to understand that agriculture is truly everywhere and impacts everything. There are a wide array of careers in the agriculture industry; food science is a huge area in itself.   So many inspiring facts compliment the Ag in the Classroom resources, making it a great way to start the discussion about the importance of agriculture.

Ms. Ward's Outstanding Agriculture Applications!

Food Coaching-This year's after school program I designed was in collaboration with a University of Minnesota Extension Nutrition Educator, and the Headwaters Science Center, a local hands on science center. The goal is to teach youth about healthy food choices, where their food comes from and empowering them to be a food coach. They are then advised to share their knowledge with others. At each session we send home two Ag in the Classroom tools/resources to further reinforce the message of the session and give them tools to use with their family. Agriculture is Everywhere! And Ag in the Classroom has the best tools to teach that message. With the message right in the resources this further reinforces the outreach work we are doing through this 4-H program.   The ability to move from nutrition education, leadership empowerment and education on Minnesota grown foods is flawless with these resources. There could be no better tool to send home with young people to share with their families.



4-H Program Coordinator Ann Marie Ward with her daughter.



It's Conference Season for MAITC!

Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom staff members, Al Withers and Sue Knott, have been busy attending, exhibiting and presenting workshops at a variety of professional and educational conferences the past few weeks.  Exciting connections and conversations have been had at the following:

Minnesota School Board Association Leadership Conference

    Jan 17-18, Minneapolis

Minnesota Association of Agricultural Educators Ag-Tech Conf.

    Jan 18-19, St. Cloud

Minnesota Elementary School Principals' Assn Institute

    Feb 6-7, Bloomington

Minnesota Conference on Science Education

    Feb 22, Duluth

Upcoming Conferences include:

Minnesota Council for the Social Studies Conference

   March 11, St. Cloud

Minnesota Women's Agricultural Leadership Conference

   April 10, Chaska

Al and Sue discuss MN Ag in the Classroom at the MN Science Teachers Conference.


Fantastic Resources   

Agriculture Products Poster/Placemat

This bright colored and eye-catching resource illustrates the food, fuel, fiber and shelter that agriculture plants and animals provide, as well as thousands of additional secondary products that are essential to our daily lives. Available FREE on the MN Ag in the Classroom website.  

Website - Treezydoesit
Explore this website sponsored by the Minnesota Forest Industries for free, informative and interactive lessons about our forests, forest products and other topics of interest.
Gourmet Lab: The Scientific Principles Behind Your Favorite Foods
The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) describes this resource as "Hands-on, inquiry-based, and relevant to every student's life, Gourmet Lab serves up a full menu of activities for science teachers of grades 6-12."  Use this resource to focus on the agriculture-science connection.  Available online


Children's Literature - Midday Meals Around the World

ISBN 1-4048-0281-9

This primary level book highlights typical midday meals in nine different countries with the theme that food is important to everyone!  Family and kid-friendly recipes are also included.  Find this book in the MN Ag in the Classroom Book Bundle.

Register for National Conference! 


June 25-28, 2013

Marriott City Center

Minneapolis, MN

 Engaging workshops, tours, keynote speakers and networking events will provide exceptional learning opportunities for all who attend the 2013 Agriculture in the Classroom National Conference!   The 2013 Ag in the Classroom National Conference is open to educators, volunteers, agricultural advocates and anyone else interested in discovering new possibilities for advancing agricultural literacy.   

Mark your calendar to attend June 25-28 in Minneapolis!

Register before April 15th for the Early Bird rate!


Science teachers try out Ag themed STEM lessons.

STEM Lessons

MAITC has some new lessons that illustrate the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) involved in agriculture. 

Check them out!

Grant Winners!

Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom proudly sponsors an agricultural literacy grant program. Cash awards (maximum of $400) are offered to encourage educators to bring agriculture and food systems education to life by integrating related content into their classroom or school. Grant applications are accepted and awarded twice a year. Congratulations to the second round of winners for the 2012-2013 school year! See a list of the winners. 

MN Farmers Feed Us eBites
Minnesota Farmers Feed Us offers a consumer based e-newsletter with informational articles, recipes, healthy eating tips and NOW a MAITC Series!  Check out our first contribution at
The first two individuals to respond with the correct answers will win a travel mug courtesy of the MDA! 
Spring is the time for many "farm animal babies"!  Correctly list the term used for a newborn animal of the following livestock species:
1. Cattle
2. Hogs
3. Sheep
4. Horses
5. Turkeys
Send answers to
Upcoming Events

March 11, 2013
Minnesota Council for the Social Studies Annual Conference
St. Cloud, MN
April 3, 2013
Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom Foundation Board Mtg
April 10, 2013
Women's Agricultural Leadership Conference
U of M Landscape Arboretum
April 15, 2013
Early-Bird registration closes for the 2013 Ag in the Classroom Conference
April 28-30, 2013 
MN FFA Convention
St. Paul, MN


If you know someone who would like to receive this FREE newsletter please Sign-up Now!

Sue Knott                                                Al Withers
MAITC Education Specialist                      MAITC Program Director                  
651-201-6486                                           651-201-6886