The Kansas Pork Association has joined with several other groups to fund and develop classroom curricula for third and fourth grade teachers that are focused on pork and pigs.
For a year, the association has made it a goal to focus on efforts to build relationships with consumers who have a role in influencing those around them, acknowledging that classrooms hold a key place among influencers,
"We continue to have a steady flow of requests from teachers interested in any resources that we have to offer," says Jodi Oleen, KPA Director of Consumer Outreach. "This was an opportunity to fulfill an important need and we are excited to now be able to provide these materials for classrooms in Kansas."
Two curricula on pork are now available. A Peek at Pork offers four lessons, as well as anticipation and vocabulary activities for grades 3-4. This curriculum is best utilized in conjunction with The Amazing Pig DVD, which is also available through KPA. Pig Mania provides six lessons for grades 4-6,that range from language arts to math.
"Kids are intrigued by animals, they make learning fun," says Cathy Musick, Executive Director of the Kansas Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom. "This curriculum allows teachers to use agriculture as a tool to teach their curriculum standards."
Those standards, focused on "career and work-force readiness" have a big emphasis on applied learning.
"Teachers are looking for real world scenarios to help toward lessons in science, technology, engineering and math," Musick says. "Not only does this curricula help meet national agriculture literacy outcomes, but is promote agriculture and the environment in a positive way."
There were many groups involved in the development and funding for the curriculum. It was an original project led by the Nebraska Pork Producers Association, who worked with the Nebraska Foundation for Ag in the Classroom, Nebraska Farm Bureau and the Nebraska Soybean Board to fund and develop the materials. The materials were then passed to KPA, who worked closely with KFAC and the Kansas Soybean Commission to edit and publish the curricula according to Kansas learning standards.
KFAC will have an important role in helping introduce the curricula to teachers.
"We will be talking about it at Be Ag Wise and our summer institute workshops, which are both professional development opportunities for students," Musick says.
Those interested in learning more or implementing these curricula in their classroom can visit www.eatpork.org/teaching, or contact KPA at 785-776-0442.
"With Kansas Ag Week coming up in March, these materials would be great way to celebrate in the classroom," Oleen says. "If you have children in third-sixth grade or a relationship with your local schools, we encourage you to reach out to them with this resource.