A true merger of science, education, agriculture, teachers and students is conducted by the National Agriscience Teacher Ambassador Academy (NATAA), held annually at the DuPont Chesapeake Farms in Chestertown, MD. In this professional development program, agriculture teachers learn new inquiry-based teaching techniques to improve science learning and performance in standardized science test scores. DuPont partners with LAB-AIDS Inc. for curriculum, materials and training support. The Academy has several objectives, including:
Provide teachers with educational resources, training and information on ways to implement science-based activities in classroom for environmental science, food science, sustainability and biological sciences;
Share lesson plans, laboratory exercises and teaching strategies in order to improve the resources available to teaching agriscience;
Train and influence the next generation and future employees who will advance agricultural sciences to the next level.
Specially selected agriscience teachers from all across the United States travel to DuPont Chesapeake Farms to learn how to incorporate more science into their existing curriculums and make learning fun and challenging for their students. Over 100 teachers have been a part of the Academy since its inception seven years ago.
“After 21 years as an agricultural educator, I can honestly say that the Agriscience Ambassador Academy was the single best professional development I have experienced, period,” said Ken Couture, NAAE president and 2010 NATAA participant.
“As agricultural educators, we need to do more to incorporate inquiry-based science into our curriculum. It’s not about changing what we teach, it’s about looking for opportunities to make the natural connections to the science in our curriculum. The key is the inquiry approach and the Academy gives you the tools to make it work in your classroom,” he continued.
“No matter where you are in your career, you need to keep moving forward and improving your craft. The agriculture industry is constantly changing. We work hard to keep up with the latest content. We should work just as hard to improve our teaching skills. NATAA is a unique opportunity to develop those skills.”
The Academy's teachers, Ambassadors for Agriscience, facilitate workshops at the Agriscience Institute at the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, IN, helping other agriscience teachers learn how to teach science more effectively in the classroom. Ambassadors also conduct workshops at the annual December convention of the National Association of Agricultural Educators (NAAE).
Applications due January 27, 2012
If you have questions about NATAA, contact Alissa Smith at 1-800-509-0204 or firstname.lastname@example.org.