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Project Overview

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    In 2007 three instructors collaborated to write a proposal for a USDA Capacity Building funded project entitled University Collaboration with Secondary Education to Enhance Science Curricula. The purpose of the project was to partner with K-12 institutions to provide a bridge for smooth transition from high school to post-secondary education and to develop collaborative partnerships. Partnerships with K-12 institutions that provide a mechanism for smooth transitions from high school to post-secondary education are important at four-year institutions. Equally important are opportunities for high school educators to update their content knowledge and revise the curricula to better prepare students for college. For three years faculty and staff at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, School of Agricultural Sciences worked with high school teachers to enhance their course instruction. The objectives of the project were to:

    1. Collaborate with agriculture and family consumer sciences teachers in high schools to enhance agricultural science curricula at the secondary education level.
    2. Collaborate with science teachers in high schools to develop instructional units for their courses that illustrate the agricultural applications of concepts addressed in the science courses.
    3. Provide support so that teachers are able to develop instructional units or lessons, which meet state instructional objectives and have the flexibility to be adapted for differentiated instruction.
    4. Provide professional development to those teachers not able to participate in the program through county-wide professional development and other outreach initiatives.
    5. Provide professional development to teachers from throughout the state of Maryland through the professional associations.

     The project brought together a curriculum development team:

    • High school instructors
    • College instructors
    • Curriculum specialist (To ensure that the lessons reflect state and county instructional objectives, and also current state initiatives)
    • Instructional technology specialist

    The team approach was used to incorporate agricultural concepts and applications into high school science and family and consumer science curricula to broaden students’ awareness of the extensive nature and diversity of the food and agricultural sciences. Essentially, the participating teacher connected a specific application of agricultural or family and consumer science studies to his/her curriculum in order to provide hands-on learning experiences and projects that reinforce or enhance concepts covered in a particular instructional unit from the high school curriculum.

    During the three years the team at UMES has worked with family consumer science, agriculture, and science teachers to develop instructional units that would meet the state requirements for the respective subjects. The teachers worked closely with faculty and the curriculum specialist to plan and develop their instructional units. The technology liaison worked with the teachers to develop materials to support the project. The typical cycle with the respective teachers included a. selection b. training in content areas c. development of instructional materials d. pilot testing and evaluation f. revision.

    Sample units developed include:

    • Drinking Water Quality
    • Interactions of Species and Organisms within their Environment
    • Genetics and Food Safety
    • Health of the Chesapeake Bay
    • Library of images for teaching about fibers

    Wicomico County teachers received professional development in regard to the units, and other instructors have subsequently incorporated the lessons into their curricula. A presentation was made to Family and Consumer Science instructors from Anne Arundel County in June 2011.  Presentations were also made at the AAFCS 102nd Annual and Expo and at the Association of Research Directors Annual Conferences in 2011 and 2010. For more information on the project, please contact Anugrah Shaw at ashaw@umes.edu, Corrie Cotton at cpcotton@umes.edu, or Courtney Harned at cpharned@umes.edu.