February 2014
Issue: 10
Augsburg students create an egg catcher
Students at Augsburg College engineer an egg catcher during a pre-service teacher workshop.
In This Issue
Teacher Feature
Teacher Award
Fantastic Resources
Farm Day
Summer Teacher Tour
Upcoming Events
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Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom
Looking for an opportunity to forget about our cold temperatures and long winter?  Here's an idea - grow agricultural literacy!  Find ways to help others understand the importance of agriculture and how we could not survive without it.
Teacher Feature Sharon Shelerud

Featured Teacher - Ms. Sharon Shelerud

9th Grade AP Human Geography and Human Geography

Metcalf Junior High, Burnsville, MN


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

When I first started teaching Human Geography, I knew very little about agriculture. The Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom program really helped me to develop meaningful lessons for my students. I use the Food For Thought Maps to teach Von Thunen's Theory and use the Commodity cards to teach Minnesota's agricultural regions. Many of my students don't think of Minnesota being an agricultural state, so this is an eye opener for many of them. Teaching about agriculture from the local to global scale is getting to be more important to do. Students need to understand where their food is coming from and how this food is being grown/raised and processed in order to make the most educated decisions about what products to buy.

What are some current agricultural projects your students are working on?

*  Students go to the grocery store and map where their food comes from.Then we make a class map.

* AP students create an infomercial about an agricultural topic that relates agriculture to health issues.

* Students map where different crops are grown and then use the book "What the World Eats" to better understand why certain foods are prevalent in certain diets.

What advice do you have for other teachers on using agriculture in their curriculum?

Plan carefully!! There is so much you can do with agriculture, its easy to run out of time!   Be sure you do agricultural lessons at varies scales - Minnesota , national and world patterns. Also, relate agriculture to the student's life. This unit really opens up students' eyes to what they are eating and why.

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

"You are what you eat" is an old saying, but is very true. Students need to understand this and there is no better way for them to do that than to learn about food. With the growing world population, the issue of food production and distribution will continue to be a major issue. The use of natural resources to increase food production and improve food distribution will affect all people and by learning about this in school, students will be better equipped to deal with these issues and be better global citizens.

Sharon Shelerud exploring geography in winter 
Congratulations Lori Hodge!
MN Excellence in Teaching about Agriculture Award Winner
Ms. Lori Hodge, second grade teacher at Riverside Elementary School in Brainerd, MN is the winner of the Minnesota Excellence in Teaching about Agriculture Award.  This award is sponsored by the MAITC Foundation and is used to recognize a  teacher for his/her creative efforts to teach students about the importance of agriculture.  Lori has enthusiastically strived to build agricultural literacy by having an agricultural focus in every subject.  Making butter and ice cream to demonstrate changes in matter, growing plants for science investigations, using a field trip to a dairy farm for poetry inspiration, and painting with Minnesota soil samples are just a few examples of how Lori has embedded agriculture into every subject she teachers.  Lori has also partnered with the Brainerd FFA chapter to facilitate a year-long PALS (Partners in Active Learning Support) mentoring program.   As the award winning teacher, Lori receives $500 and will have up to $1500 of her expenses paid to attend the National Ag in the Classroom Conference in Hershey, Pennsylvania. 

Fantastic Resources   

 school garden guide cover page

Minnesota School Garden Guide 

This guide offers information for starting and maintaining a school garden in Minnesota.  In addition, 31 lessons connected to MN  K-12 academic standards are included.  Available FREE on the MN  Ag in the Classroom website.  

Explore the connectedness of geography and agriculture using this website of Charles O. Paullin and John K. Wright's Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States, first published in 1932. This digital edition reproduces all of the atlas's nearly 700 maps. Many of the maps are enhanced in ways impossible to print, animated to show change over time or made clickable to view the underlying data.
This National Science Teacher Association newsletter focuses on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.  We are especially fond of the November 2013 issue that focuses on Agriculture!
Children's Literature - The Cow in Patrick O'Shanahan's Kitchen by Diane PrichardCover of the book
ISBN 978-1-93775-01-6
In this primary elementary book, a young boy is faced with a very unusual breakfast guest.  Readers are treated to a deliciously humorous lesson in just where their next meal might come from. Join Patrick and his father as they face (and feast with) The Cow in Patrick O'Shanahan's Kitchen.


MN ag in the Classroom logo 

 MAITC Grants

Minnesota Ag in the Classroom proudly offers grants ($400 max) to assist  K-12  educators in bringing agriculture and food systems education "to life" by effectively integrating related content into their classroom or school.  Congratulations to our 2014 grant recipients

Morris students describe beef cattle to St. Paul students 

Farm Day 2014

Farm Day is a FREE  opportunity for metro area third graders to see, touch, hear and smell the crops and animals that are the source of their food. FFA student leaders from Morris Area High School and Dassel-Cokato High School will lead third grade students through interactive learning stations.  Teachers attending Farm Day will participate in a one-hour professional development workshop led by MAITC. One CEU will be awarded to each participating teacher.  Click here for more information.  Apply today!  

Teachers tour Bushel Boy in Owatonna Minnesota
Teachers tour Bushel Boy in Owatonna, MN
Summer Teacher Tour
THE MAITC Foundation, with special project funds from the MN Corn Growers Association, is excited to offer a Summer Teacher Tour July 28-29, 2014.  Tour stops inlcude: DuPont Pioneer crop research facility, crop and livestock farms, LeSueur Cheese Company and a vineyard/winery.   Resources, hands-on activities and interactive ideas for integrating agriculture as a context for achieving academic standards at all levels will be discussed and shared.  Register today!
The first  individual to respond with the correct answer will win a coffee cup.
What is Minnesota's state drink?
Send answers to
Upcoming Events
February 21, 2014
MN Conference on Science Ed
Mankato, MN
February 26, 2014
Pre-Service Workshop at Gustavus Adolphus
St. Peter, MN
February 28, 2014
School Gardens Conference
Chanhassen, MN
March 3, 2014
MN Council on Social Studies Conference
Minneapolis, MN


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 Minnesota Department of Agricultulre
Sue Knott                                                Al Withers
MAITC Education Specialist                      MAITC Program Director
[email protected]                            [email protected]
651-201-6486                                           651-201-6886