KS Soybean Update with Dr. Brain McCornack

(Jamie) Welcome back to Farm Factor and the Kansas Soybean Update.
(Greg) This is the Kansas Soybean Update. It’s brought to you by the Kansas Soybean Commission. The Soybean Checkoff, Progress Powered by Kansas Farmers. Dr. Brian McCornack, Director of the Summer Soybean Science Institute is joining us from Kansas State University. Dr. McCornack this is a great opportunity for teachers to participate in the Summer Soybean Science Institute there in Manhattan. (Brian) This is probably by far the most rewarding experience I’ve had here at K-State, working with these teachers, primarily K-6. We’ve had some teachers through high school as well that come during this three-week program and really immerse themselves in soybeans. Literally, we go in the field, we talk with scientists, we come back to the classroom and then really focus on inquiry-based learning. A lot of times we don’t think teachers get the experience to know what it is like to really be a scientist, yet then go and try to teach science from K through 12. What we do is provide that type of immersive environment for them to really get their feet wet with science. (Greg) You’ve heard the term farm to plate. In this case you’re learning about the soybeans from pod to plate. (Brian) That’s probably the coolest part of this whole program is science is being taught in the classroom. They start looking at plant development. You look at a lima bean, but simply changing a lima bean to soybean, all of a sudden puts that student in the context of a crop that covers much of the state of Kansas. One of our favorite activities by the teachers is when we go to a local grocery store and do a scavenger hunt. They go and look at their current grocery list and find out where soybean is and they’re just completely amazed by how many products soybean is in. (Greg) There are some benefits if you want to become a part of this. (Brian) There is a stipend. We realize they are taking time out of their summer to be a part of it. There are some funds available for classroom supplies, some technology is included with that. This is a three-week course that starts the end of May, so May 31 through June 17. This is a full-day event during that three-week period. (Greg) Now if there are any teachers, grades K through 6 who are interested in being a part of this, how do they apply? (Brian) The best way is go to the mysoybean.org website, so mysoybean.o-r-g\apply website. That’s apply, a-p-p-l-y. It’s a real simple application, basically, why do they want to be a part of the summer program? I think what makes this program unique is that our focus really is on inquiry, showing the teachers how to direct a student’s questions into testable hypothesis. This really focuses on the next generation science standards. The way those are written allows me as a scientist to really work with these teachers to show them what it is like to be a scientist. When you look at where we need food products to be in the next 20-30 years, we need a lot of these kids to be interested in agriculture and we’re using soybean as a model system to do that. I’ve been very fortunate to have the support of the Kansas Soybean Commission in funding these teachers, getting some of those kids to be excited about agriculture. (Greg) That’s Dr. Brian McCornack, Director of the Summer Soybean Science Institute at Kansas State University. He joins us on the Kansas Soybean Update. It’s brought to you by the Kansas Soybean Commission. The Soybean Checkoff, Progress Powered by Kansas Farmers. Learn more at kansassoybeans.org. For Kansas Soybeans, I’m Greg Akagi.
(Jamie) Hope you enjoyed this week’s Kansas Soybean Update. After the break we’ll join Duane and Chris Novak, CEO of the National Corn Growers Association.

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