DMC Fourth Grade Teacher Recognized for Excellence in Teaching about Agriculture

December 15, 2020
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DMC Fourth Grade Teacher Recognized for Excellence

Teaching about Agriculture

Congratulations to DMC Fourth Grade Teacher Mrs. Rhonda Osborn for receiving the Iowa Excellence in Teaching about Agriculture award presented by the Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation.

Mrs. Osborn competed against other elementary, middle, and high school teachers to earn the honor. She was recognized at a ceremony at the Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation board of directors meeting held virtually on December 15, 2020.

“Teaching agriculture is exciting for the students to learn, fun to teach, and most importantly, it instills a passion for agriculture in each of the students,” said Osborn. “Students need to connect agriculture to their lives and know the important role it plays in each of our lives.

Mrs. Osborn has designed and developed agricultural units and taught them with her literacy program. Her work involves researching the subjects, creating lesson plans, designing STEM projects to go with each unit, applying for grants, scheduling live farm chats, and finding other teaching materials. Her students study careers with their corn unit and compare and contrast field corn, sweet corn, and popcorn. Her soybeans unit looks at the lifecycle of the plant and researches technologies used on the farm. Her beef unit identifies cuts of beef and learning vocabulary like heifer, cow, bull, and steer. Her turkey unit compares wild and domesticated turkeys and maintaining healthy environments in turkey barns.

“I like to be creative with my teaching,” she says, “and that creativity comes from God.”

Mrs. Osborn also integrates agriculture into her STEM activities. Her classes grow salads, create presentations on corn, celebrate agriculture by dressing up like a farmer, and design farm machinery with LEGO. Students learn how to best care for plants and have taken virtual field trips to farms. Her students have competed in beef and turkey marketing contests and understand how to track cattle with brands and other tracking methods.

Mrs. Osborn received a $500 stipend to support her continued efforts of integrating agriculture into her classroom curriculum. She plans to use the award to purchase books and materials for STEAM projects related to agriculture. She will also attend the National Agriculture in the Classroom conference to be held in Des Moines in June 2021.

Mrs. Osborn likes to create faith-in-action projects to bless others. For the upcoming beef unit this spring, her class will create care packages for the Ronald McDonald House, using items that contain beef byproducts such as crayons, JELLO, shampoos, combs, toothbrushes, gum and beef sticks.

Mrs. Osborn is in her 16th year of teaching at Des Moines Christian School. She earned her degree from Northwest Missouri State University. She has been a recipient of the Agriculture in the Classroom Teacher Supplement Grant as well as other grants. She has previously been honored as the Des Moines Christian School elementary teacher of the year.

DMC Elementary Principal Karla Lowe said, “When DMC transitioned to distance learning last spring, Mrs. Osborn often recorded her morning message sitting on a tractor or from a corn field.” Lowe went on to say, “Mrs. Osborn is a very creative teacher who enjoys teaching her students about the agricultural industry.”

About the Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation

IALF serves as a central resource for educators and volunteers who want to teach Iowa’s students about agriculture.  The mission is to educate Iowans, with a focus on youth, regarding the breadth and global significance of agriculture.  Iowa is a leading producer of agricultural products that are essential to feed a growing world population, estimated to reach more than 9 billion by 2050.  IALF believes it is important for all Iowans to understand the essential role agriculture has in their lives.  Through Agriculture in the Classroom efforts IALF engages with teachers and students.  IALF is supported by a number of agricultural stakeholders, including the Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, Iowa Pork Producers Association, CHS Foundation, Corteva Agriscience, Farm Credit Services of America, GROWMARK, the Iowa Beef Industry Council, and Silos and Smokestacks National Heritage Area.