Matthew Strunk and Madison Huelskamp are excited to see one of their balloons start to inflate while doing a 4-H "Biofuel Blast" experiment, which taught students how cellulose and sugars in plants can be converted into fuel.

A System for Attracting New Students

A Student Activity based on the article “A System for Attracting New Students” from the January/February 2010 Our Ohio magazine.

National Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources Career Cluster Content Standards 

High School: LifeKnowledge and Cluster Skills Content Standard 03: Career Success: Demonstrate those qualities, attributes and skills necessary to succeed in, or further prepare for, a chosen career while effectively contributing to society.  
CS.03.03.01.a-c. Research current and emerging technologies in Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources. Analyze emerging technologies. Conduct workplace study to assess benefits to adapting emerging technologies.

(Note: Key terms used from the National AFNR Content Standards are in bold below).

Discussion points

  1. Is the experiment that Andrew is participating in with the balloons related to agriculture?  How?
  2. In your opinion, is hands-on experimental learning more successful than lecture from a teacher? Explain.
  3. By participating in the “Biofuel Blast” experiment, how might these young students be preparing for a career?
  4. Does this experiment, as simple as it seems, research emerging technologies in the field of agriculture?  Why? 
  5. STEM is an acronym for what fields of education?
  6. According to the article, why is it important to provide students with connections and skills related to science?Explain how a career in science and technology helps to contribute to society
  7. Define: Biotechnology, Genetics, and Alternative energies
  8. An educator in the article states “only 18 percent of U.S. high school seniors are considered advanced or proficient in science.”  Why haven’t American students been successful in science fields?
  9. What are 4-H and FFA trying to do to improve student acquisition of STEM skills?
  10. What type of company is Monsanto?  What does Monsanto make/produce/do?
    Do you think the students who toured Monsanto researched and analyzed emerging technologies?
  11. Is this a successful approach to engage students in science careers?
  12. Do you think the programs described in this article will provide students with the qualities, attributes and skills to succeed in the Agriculture, Food and Natural Resource career field?
  13. What qualities must leaders have to make sure that “6 billion people” will be fed in the future?  What must our leaders know?
  14. In your opinion, why don’t high school students choose careers in science, engineering, technology or math?
  15. What would persuade you to become a scientist in the future and to work with emerging technologies?

Hands on at Home or School

  1. “Biofuel Blast” : Experience the Experiment and see the results at
  2. Learn more about biofuels, an emerging new technology.
  3. In addition to the site, explore the world of 4-H:    4-H. org
  4. Read “about 4-H” 
  5. How do you think participating in 4-H prepares leaders?
  6. Does 4-H help students contribute to society?  How?
  7. In addition to the site, explore the world of FFA:
  8. Read about FFA by clicking on “What is FFA” 
  9. How do you think participating in FFA prepares leaders?
  10. Does FFA help students contribute to society?  How?

Science / Technology Career Education:
Education World,
Brainstorm some other careers in Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources.

  1. Do you think you could learn about a business and apply a new technology to the business to make it more productive, successful, or efficient?
  2. How could grain farming implement a new technology?
  3. Are there food products that would improve our lives?
  4. What technology could we utilize to better protect our environment?


Geography:  Map Use:

  1. Locate Shelby County and Clark County (birthplace of 4-H) on an Ohio map.
  2. Find out more about Monsanto at
  3. What careers are available in this company?
  4. What are the products it produces?
  5. What does the company do to promote science and technology education?
    Go to “Corporate Responsibility” then “Youth and Education”
  6. Where would you find Monsanto headquarters?

More STEM Activities
American Association for the Advancement of Sciences,

  1. Overview of the STEM initiative go to “About NSF GK-12”

This student activity was prepared by Camille Kopczewski, who is coordinator of religious education at Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Grove City. She is a former sixth grade social studies teacher for South-Western City Schools. She has undergraduate and graduate degrees in education.