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Contact: Dave Blower Jr. at 317-644-0980; firstname.lastname@example.org
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (April 16, 2021) — One of the strategic objectives of the Indiana Soybean Alliance (ISA) is to increase community awareness of agriculture and sustainable farming practices. Through partnering with organizations like The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis (TCM), ISA has had the opportunity to amplify the image and awareness of Indiana soybean farmers.
Now, through direct sponsorship of educational programming, the ISA is taking it a step further. TCM’s “Behind the Genes” virtual fieldtrip program that launched on Ag Day this past March, is an opportunity to engage with young people who are interested in the science of agriculture.
The Children’s Museum’s live and virtual fieldtrips have the potential to reach thousands of students all across the state of Indiana each year, and the Behind the Genes program is the newest offering from the world’s largest museum dedicated to children. Students who participate in the Behind the Genes virtual field trip will each receive a kit that contains everything they’ll need to complete the journey into genetics. They will be guided through the program by Children’s Museum staff in an online science lab where they will discuss the ways plants that have been genetically modified and those that have not are virtually indiscernible from one another. They will learn the difference between genotype and phenotype, and then they will complete a DNA extraction from a soybean.
“We’re making the soybean the star of the show,” said Amanda Wrege, STEM Educator for TCM who developed the curriculum and is heading up the virtual facilitation of the program. “We are going to go ‘Behind the Genes’ and learn a bit about biotechnology using a real-world application of a form of it with a plant that is really important to Indiana, the soybean!”
The program is geared toward middle school students in sixth through eighth grade and can be scaled up to high school biology students. The tools needed to participate, including distilled water, pipets, self-standing reaction vials, dish soap and a randomly selected GMO or conventional soybean to test; are all sent to the students prior to the virtual fieldtrip. Teachers receive a Teacher Info Sheet, a Pre-Visit Lesson on DNA Modeling, and a Post Visit Lesson on GMOs.
“We love that we can bring the technology of soybean farming into TCM’s STEMLab and Corteva Agriscience Science Works exhibits that have been so popular over the years,” said Anngie Steinbarger, ISA Sustainability and Value Creation Committee Chairwoman and farmer from Edinburgh, Ind.
“Introducing students to these kinds of topics is really important, especially when you consider that many of the schools that participate in these programs with the museum don’t have agriculture education classes as part of their regular curriculum. We want students across the state to have the opportunity to learn about ag and how science plays into modern farming practices.”
The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis offers Indiana school corporations the opportunity to become Member Schools and receive access to all of the museum’s content, or schools can choose to participate in individual programs like Behind the Genes, of which is one of more than 15 online offerings. While the program was designed to be delivered in a virtual learning environment, TCM staff has a plan to continue this program when in-person learning resumes.
“We do plan on keeping both modes of delivery of our programming indefinitely, and this would absolutely work wonderfully as a program in-person as well,” Wrege said. “The reaction has been amazing – kids love watching cause and effect and understanding what science can do to modify things and how that can make such a difference in the world.”
Behind the Genes can even be modified to accommodate non-school groups like scouting organizations and summer camps. To learn more about Behind the Genes and other virtual school programs at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, go to www.childrensmuseum.org/educat...
About Indiana Soybean Alliance: The Indiana Soybean Alliance works to enhance the viability of Indiana soybean farmers through the effective and efficient investment of soybean checkoff funds that protect and promote the interest of Indiana soybean farmers. The ISA works to assist soybean farmers through its strategic initiatives of market development; environmental, social and economic sustainability; value creation and producer engagement. ISA is led by an elected, farmer board that directs investments of the soybean checkoff funds on behalf of more than 20,000 Indiana soybean farmers. Learn more at www.indianasoybean.com
This communication was funded with Indiana soybean checkoff dollars.