Swafford, M. (2018). STEM education at the nexus of the 3-circle model. Journal of Agricultural Education, 59(1), 297-315. https://doi.org/10.5032/jae.2018.01297
The United States economy is requiring employees to have knowledge and skills in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Researchers have identified agriculture, food, and natural resources (AFNR) education as a context in which STEM concepts can be formally taught and highlighted. Additionally, researchers have identified where, within the 3-circle model of agricultural education, students can develop STEM-related career skills. However, a conceptual model illustrating an integrated approach to STEM-AFNR education does not exist. The purpose of this research study was to identify where STEM technical content and employability skills can be explicitly taught, highlighted, and developed, within the current model of agricultural education. Research findings suggest STEM technical content can be explicitly taught and highlighted in curriculum when grounded in the Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (AFNR) Career Cluster Content Standards. Furthermore, STEM technical content and employability skills are embedded in Supervised Agricultural Experience programs and National FFA Career Development Events. Using the findings as a guide, a conceptual model of STEM-AFNR is suggested along with recommendations for practice and future research.