A high school teacher in Carman has been recognized for incorporating agriculture into student learning. The 2017 Teacher Driver Award, through Agriculture in the Classroom-Manitoba, was presented to Rosanne Massinon, who not only teaches Science courses but also runs an agriculture program at the school. "It's great to get recognized," said Massinon, who was nominated by her mentor and former Teacher Driver winner, Derek Baschuk.
When asked why she began to include agriculture learning into the classroom, Massinon explained the main reason was because it is such an important industry in the region.
She noted that agriculture also integrates well into the science curriculum and, in particular, biology.
In her first year of teaching, Massinon worked alongside the Career Technology Director and other teachers within the Prairie Rose School Division to organize an Agro-Ecology Day for grade ten students at Carman Collegiate and Elm Creek School.
"We brought in experts from the community that were experts in different Ag fields like Entomology and Soil Science for example, and they delivered these hands-on workshops...basically connecting the grade ten science and geography curriculum to the overall theme of agriculture and producing food in a sustainable way."
Agro-Ecology Day has now turned into an annual event that involves 80 students and takes place at the Ian N. Morrison Research Farm, a University of Manitoba research and training station.
She adds fields trips have also been a great way to incorporate agriculture into the classroom.
"We've gone to Pioneer greenhouses where plant scientists helped us to do some plant breeding, we've gone to All Natural Meats and checked out the abattoir, we've gone to a robotic dairy farm and we've gone to the Morden Research Station and did some genetic technology hands-on work."
She adds the kids have been surprised to discover the diversity of jobs in the industry, as well as the wide array of science that's involved.
She says getting local experts in front of the students has been as simple as asking.
"I think, especially when we live in these rural communities and we have so many people in our community, it's just asking if they're willing to come in."
Massinon explains, for example, she was interested in having her class go and check out some kind of harvest this past year so she put the call-out on Twitter and shortly after got connected with a local potato farmer.
Meantime, the students are also learning how to grow their own food by keeping a garden at the school.