PERCEPTION OF AGRICULTURE AS A CONTEXT FOR ELEMENTARY SCIENCE TEACHING: A CASE OF CHANGE IN SANILAC COUNTY, MICHIGAN
Agricultural educators advocate promotion of agricultural literacy among U. S. citizens. Many argue for the infusion of agricultural examples into the science curricula as a means to inform school children about agriculture and to bring a real-world context to science instruction .The W . K. Kellogg Foundation funded a three year county-wide program in Sanilac County, Michigan designed to improve both science and agriculture literacy . This study sought the perceptions of elementary school teachers and principals relative to the use of agriculture as a context for science instruction . Data were collected from all the county 's kindergarten through sixth grade teachers and elementary school principals. Baseline data were gathered in May 1992. Three years later, after the educational intervention, program impact data were collected. May 1992 findings showed that principals held very positive perceptions with regard to teaching science through agricultural examples, while teachers held lower perceptions . In May I995 teacher perceptions of agriculture were more favorable and their comfort with teaching science through agricultural themes increased . The study suggests that non-traditional programs should be developed at the elementary school level to educate students about food, agriculture and renewable resources.