Finding new ways to introduce agriculture in the classroom

a group of students do a science experiement

Across Colorado, we’ve found that elementary-aged youth often don’t understand the widespread impact and importance of agriculture in their lives.  To support students and educators alike, we created DIGS.

Helping to meet this need.

What’s DIGS?

Colorado State University’s 4-H STEM AmeriCorps program and faculty at CSU’s Department of Agriculture and Resource Economics in the College of Agricultural Sciences worked together to develop a set of lessons for 3rd-5th graders, based on the principles of 4-H and Colorado Agriculture.

The curriculum, called Developing Individuals, Growing Stewards (DIGS), takes youth on a journey through the world of Western agriculture, from the importance of Colorado’s natural resources to observing trait selection in livestock to reading basic maps.

DIGS covers a wide range of topics across eight units with a total of twenty-four lessons. Each lesson contains Colorado Academic Standards, 4-H life skills, background information on the subject material, vocabulary lists, career connections, and more.

Anyone can teach DIGS.  How do we know?

We tried it! DIGS was piloted last summer through a two-week summer camp encompassing all twenty-four lessons in the curriculum (view the curriculum here).  The action-packed days were filled with interactive activities covering a range of topics, from plant health to genetics to basic nutrition. The instructors included a CSU Extension 4-H Agent, a CSU graduate student, and an AmeriCorps member with no previous background in agriculture. Through pre- and post-surveys, it was shown that by the end of the two weeks, seventy-one percent of participants in the camp increased their knowledge of Colorado agriculture and their appreciation of STEM.

Curriculum available soon

The DIGS curriculum and summer camp planning materials will soon be available to you for no cost. You’ll also be able to participate in a training session on how to use the curriculum. Whatever your role – if you’re looking to build afterschool programs or a homeschooling parent or classroom teacher looking for a cohesive lesson plan to teach Colorado agriculture, DIGS is your solution.

Stay in the know

Interested in being notified when it’s available? Complete the Contact Us form and choose AmeriCorps from the drop-down menu.

Let’s get our youth excited about the world of Agriculture!