Success Story of After School Professional Development Webinars

At Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom, we pride ourselves in providing educators and students a variety of avenues to increase ag literacy through K-12 education. An educator-focused initiative is our after school professional development webinars. Each live webinar explores a different aspect of agriculture and all attendees receive one Continuing Education Unit (CEU).

October - Minnesota Apples

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On October 26, 2023, David Bedford, research scientist and apple breeder, shared insights into the Apple Breeding program at the University of Minnesota. He has been involved in developing many well-known apple cultivars including Honeycrisp, SweeTango, and First Kiss. 

Thirty educators attended to learn more about Minnesota apples and the science behind them. Of those educators, four received 25 apples of each variety: Honeycrisp, Zestar, SweeTango so they could complete the taste testing/genetics activities with their students.

The following apple-themed lessons and activities were shared and demonstrated:

December - Minnesota Cheese

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On December 11, 2023, educators met Redhead Creamery founders and owners Lucas and Alise Sjostrom. Alise is President and Cheesemaker at Redhead Creamery, an on-farm, family-run cheese company near Brooten, MN. Lucas is involved with Redhead Creamery and is also the Executive Director for Minnesota Milk Producers Association.

Fifty-six educators attended this After School Professional Development with Redhead Creamery. Ten of these educators received cheesemaking kits to complete the following curriculum matrix lessons: Cheesemaking: From Liquid to Solid (3-5), Cheesemaking: A Science, an Art, and a Craft (6-8) Enzymes and Bacteria are Whey Cool! (9-12). Several lucky educators also received Redhead Creamery gift cards.

The following dairy and cheese-themed lessons and activities were shared and demonstrated:

January - Minnesota Beans

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On January 23, 2024, 26 educators were joined by Joe Smentek, Minnesota Soybean Growers Association, Shane Frederick, Specialty Soya and Grains Alliance, and Mitch Coulter, Northarvest Bean Growers Association. They shared about Minnesota beans and provided specific examples on how, where, and why Minnesota beans are traded and exported around the world.

MAITC team members demonstrated the below lessons for all grade levels that not only explore Minnesota grown beans (soybeans, pinto beans, kidney beans, and more!) but also investigate how beans are used in Minnesota, the US, and the world.

Five educators received a lesson kit containing the world map and food cards that were given away for Minnesota in the Global Economy: Agricultural Trade Products (9-12). Ten Minnesota bean kits were given away (beans provided by Northarvest Bean Growers Association). Several educators also received complimentary tickets to the upcoming 2024 teacher tours.

March - Seeds

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On March 21, 2024, Zachary Paige, owner of North Circle Seeds and a University of Minnesota sustainable agriculture & food systems specialist explained how seeds are grown, collected, and made available to all of us. Zachary also shared ideas for seed saving and demonstrated how you can set-up a seed starting station in your classroom. 

The following seed-themed lessons and activities were shared and demonstrated.

20 educators received seed starting kits. Several educators also received complimentary registration to the upcoming 2024 teacher tours.

Future After School Professional Development Webinars

As educators begin to wrap up the 2023-2024 school year, our professional development webinars are complete for the year. A special thank you to our special guests that joined us this year to help amplify the teacher's professional development. At Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom, we look forward to providing them again next year. Stay tuned for more information about the 2024-2025 professional development series coming soon.

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