(09/02/20) BATON ROUGE, La. — The LSU AgCenter is providing resources to help teachers enhance their instruction in science and life skills.
The five curricula provided by faculty of the state 4-H youth development department are Incubating Education, Stand Strong, Living Your Financial Experience, 4-H Cloverbuds and Youth Wetlands.
“Louisiana 4-H is excited to offer these engaging school enrichment programs that allow students to receive 4-H Youth Development Program curricula in a group or classroom during school hours,” said Janet Fox, department head of the AgCenter 4-H Youth and Family Development. “Our 4-H specialists have been intentional in the instructional design of these curricula so that they meet school standards and address areas of high-demand subject matter.”
Kim Jones, an instructor in 4-H, said the program she provides is Stand Strong, which is designed to help students with conflict resolution, bullying and forming healthy relationships.
“The school enrichment program really helps the teachers because it supplements what the teacher needs to meet the state standards,” Jones said. “This session is geared toward fifth through eighth grade students.”
Crystal Ahrens, 4-H livestock specialist, said she developed the Incubating Education course, which allows students to see science in real time.
“With this curriculum, the teacher can work with their 4-H agent to arrange for an incubator to be brought to the classroom so the students can watch the egg hatching process,” Ahrens said.
In one of the sessions, the students are shown that chickens are distant relatives of alligators by comparing the hearts of each.
“They have different hearts, but they have the same lungs, and feathers evolve from scales, and chickens still have scales on their lower legs and feet,” she said. This curriculum is designed for third to eighth grade students.
LSU AgCenter college and career readiness specialist Christina Zito-Hebert is presenting the Living Your Financial Experience (LYFE) curriculum, which is a financial literacy curriculum for ninth through 12th grade students.
She said the program can be designed for the students to receive a grade, but teachers do not have to assign grades.
“The program doesn’t require the students to receive a grade, but there is an evaluation component to the program,” Hebert said.
Esther Boe, AgCenter 4-H coordinator for central Louisiana, said her curriculum is geared toward 4-H Cloverbuds — students too young to join 4-H.
“The group that we’re focusing on is second and third graders, who are too young to join 4-H,” she said. “Our programming is noncompetitive and has lessons on diversity and improving self-awareness.”
Brian Gautreau, youth wetlands and education outreach program coordinator, has the Youth Wetlands curriculum, which is being prepared for rollout this fall.
Working with the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA), the Youth Wetlands Program will deliver lessons and activities through an innovative online learning platform, he said.
“Our program is designed for students in third through 12th grade and helps to instill the knowledge, skills and attitudes our next generation of coastal stewards will need,” Gautreau said.
Each Louisiana 4-H school enrichment program offers a minimum of six hours of instructional lessons and activities, Fox said.
“The program also offers hands-on learning opportunities to bring topics to life for the students in an engaging format,” she said.
West Feliciana Middle School science students place eggs in the incubator on day one of the Incubating Education unit provided by the LSU AgCenter 4-H youth development program. Photo by Crystal Ahrens/LSU AgCenter