Ferand, N. K., DiBenedetto, C. A., Myers, B. E., & Barry, D. M. (2022). Implications of Science Illumination on Student Content Knowledge of Technical Floriculture and Core Scientific Ideas. Journal of Agricultural Education, 63(2), 169-185. https://doi.org/10.5032/jae.2022.02169

Abstract: With fewer people entering agricultural career fields every year, the need for skilled workers in STEM fields continues to grow, which is an issue compounded by the growing demand for food and energy worldwide. An employment pool of skilled applicants who understand agriculture as a whole and comprehend applied concepts of STEM is needed, especially now as the world has stepped into an era of scientific and precision-based agriculture. School-based agricultural education (SBAE) provides opportunities to facilitate the application of core scientific ideas in real-world settings, as many agricultural contexts and problems typically involve numerous disciplines. This study analyzed the effects of purposeful science illumination on students' content knowledge of scientific core ideas and technical floriculture concepts. Students who received a specialized science illuminated curriculum displayed higher achievement on core science and technical floriculture content than their peers who received the standard curriculum. Further, students whose teachers received specialized training in STEM illumination outperformed the other two groups of students in both scientific core ideas and technical floriculture concepts. It is recommended that teachers seek both content-specific professional development opportunities and specialized curricula. Lastly, focus should be placed on methods of instruction to allow for students to engage with core scientific ideas within the context of agriculture. 

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