The National Bioenergy and Bioproducts Education Program (NBBEP) is a USDA-NIFA-AFRI funded, multi-institution, multi-state initiative that connects classroom educators to major sustainable bioenergy research initiatives. The program includes intensive teacher training in Bioenergy & Bioproducts STEM disciplines, including agriculture. Pre-service and In-service Science, Technology, Engineering, Math and Agriculture Educators (teaching grades 6 through undergraduate level) who aspire to be leaders in bioenergy & bioproducts education are the focus of our program.
MODEL: TEACHERS TEACHING TEACHERS
The workshop season begins with the selection of 10 teachers to attend the Cornell University Teaching Fellows workshop. After an intensive 2-week training at Cornell University, these teachers travel (in teams of 2) to other workshop sites and help train another 10 teachers at each one-week workshop. By the end of summer, 90+ teachers have been trained on the topic of bioenergy and bioproducts and provided materials and kits to bring back to their classroom. During the school year, follow-up visits to classrooms provide additional support to educators.
REACHING: OVER 1400 STUDENTS/YEAR
After the training workshops, bioenergy and bioproducts topics are taylored introduced into the classroom in ways that make sense for each teacher's responsibilities. A follow-up student in 2012-2013 school year demonstrated that the program is reaching over 1400 middle and high school students each year.
TRAINING: OVER 100 TEACHERS IN 2013
Since 2011, each year the program has expanded the number of teachers trained through BBEP one-week workshops, Train-the-trainer workshops, and internships.
In 2011, Fifty-nine(59) educators participated in the program. Eight(8) educators graduated from the train-the-trainer workshop, forty-five(45) educators graduated from the one-week workshops, and six(6) educators served as program interns. In 2012, Seventy-five educators participanted in the program. Nine(9) educators completed the train-the-trainer program, fifty (50) completed participation in a one-week workshop, two(2) educators served as interns, and fourteen (14) Extension educators participated in a beta-test of a one-day workshop version of the program. In 2013, seventy-three (73) teachers were trained in workshops. Ten (10) participants completed the train-the-trainer program including 9 educators and one researcher, sixty-two (62) educators completed the one-week workshops, one(1) pre-service educator participated as in intern and in addition to these seventy-three educators, more than 40 teachers in Ohio participated in one of 4 one-day workshops. Of the participants in the intensive train-the-trainer program at Cornell University, approximately forty-five percent (45%) have been from minority serving institutions. Among previous participants, approximately half (50%) of the are teaching high-school level students, 15% are teaching middle-school level students, and 30% are teaching undergraduate college-level students. Approximately 5% of past participants are pre-service (studying to be teachers) or professionals responsible for public education. In all, to date 193 participants have completed either a one-week, train-the-trainer, or internship program and an additional 59 have participated in beta-test one-day workshop versions of the program.
OUR WORKSHOP APPROACH
Teachers utilize engaging hands-on activities, field trips to bio-based industries, research-based teaching materials, and networking opportunities with world-class researchers and other educators to develop and integrate resources appropriate for their classroom. As pioneers in the emerging bioeconomy, many of our past participants are now creating teaching materials for use by educators across the country. The workshops provide an opportunity to learn, create, and discover with a focus on the following topic areas at each workshop.
USDA provides full scholarships to all applicants selected for participation (i.e., waiver of registration fees, lectures, tours, hundreds of dollars worth of materials to bring back to your classroom including learning-standard-ready hands-on and minds-on activities, a primer, lab workbook, a set of power point slides and handouts that educators customize to their classroom and a small fee is provided for participation). Lunch is provided at workshops to allow for continuation of the meeting time. One week participants cover their own travel and lodging. Five-week participants are provided travel and lodging allowances. Professional Development Credit Hours are given in most States, according to standards of that State.