ISU Coordinates STEM Grant to Certify Teachers in Agricultural Education Curriculum

Michael Retallick, Iowa State University agricultural education and studies associate professor, led the way to help nearly 80 Iowa agriculture teachers get certified in a curriculum that will help students become more proficient in math and science.

AMES, Iowa— This summer nearly 80 Iowa agriculture teachers will be certified to help students advance in math and science with the leadership of Michael Retallick, Iowa State University agricultural education and studies associate professor.

Retallick represents Iowa on the national advisory board of the Curriculum for Agricultural Science Education (CASE). As the state CASE leader, Retallick coordinates the CASE Institutes in Iowa. During the summer he works with teachers hired to train agriculture educators on how to implement new curriculum.

“This program has the potential to increase student understanding in math and science through the context of agriculture,” Retallick said. “The inquiry-based teaching methods used in CASE develop students into problem solvers, critical thinkers and lifelong learners.”

The Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council awarded funding for  the program to Iowa’s TEAM AgEd, which promotes agricultural education. The team includes Iowa State’s agricultural education and studies department, the Iowa Department of Education, Iowa agriculture teachers, the Iowa FFA Association and the Iowa FFA Foundation.

Josh Remington, executive director of the Iowa FFA Foundation, along with several high school agriculture teachers prepared the grant proposal on behalf of Iowa’s TEAM AgEd. The grants aim to boost student interest and achievement in science, technology, engineering and math or STEM topics.

“The CASE institute has taught me the importance and effectiveness of inquiry-based learning and is a valuable curriculum to add to my teaching toolbox,” said Molly Heintz, an Iowa State graduate student in agriculture and life sciences education who participated in the institute this summer.

The grant funded access to the curriculum, expenses to attend and funds to purchase equipment to teach the curriculum. The teachers received 80 hours of professional development through the CASE institute at the Iowa FFA Enrichment Center in Ankeny.

For more information about the program and upcoming CASE institutes, visit