UTRGV offers science teachers professional development, highlighting local agricultural research

Yaquelin Helms is a Brownsville I-S-D science teacher learning about the scientific agricultural work underway in the Rio Grande Valley. It’s amazing research and you don’t think it happens in the Valley. But it’s amazing to know that it does. Helms is a participant in the U-T-R-G-V Agroecology Professional Development Institute. One of the questions we ask teachers is you know, what are some careers you think of when you hear the words “career in agriculture?” And I would say that 95% of the teachers, they say farmer or laborer, right? And so by the time they’re done, the responses are 180 degrees different, right. They’re like geneticists, entomologists, physiologists. Y’know, different careers related to sciences that y’know obviously they see that agriculture is much more than just growing food. Each of the teachers has come with us in the morning on a field trip related to local agriculture and then they spend the afternoons here on campus at UTRGV doing lab activities and lessons that they can take back and use immediately in their high school classrooms with their students. This year, they told me, “You’re going to teach environmental science AP,” so I think a lot of those labs I could use in that class too. These are teachers who may not necessarily be agricultural teachers but teachers of biology, chemistry, physics. And it’s to get them to understand that agriculture intersects a lot of those disciplines and could be used as examples in classrooms. The participating teachers represented 15 school districts. Often times science teachers and ag science teachers don’t have a lot of opportunities for professional development related to science and agricultural science here in the Rio Grande Valley. so we’re excited to be able offer this to them here locally. To learn more about agroecology research and teaching at U-T-R-G-V, visit U-T-R-G-V dot E-D-U slash agroecology. (swoosh) (swoosh)

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