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Martell is a Teacher Leader


Martell first attended a training over the summer of 2021 in Ohio. After another Nourish the Future training in Kentucky, Martell felt strongly enough about the program’s mission that he applied to be a teacher leader with the organization, and became a member of the 2022 Teacher Leadership Community. He’s just returned from a three-day training and is excited to share what he learned not only with his students, but with his fellow science teachers at HCHS.

“One of the key components of this program that appeals to me is the way that science is presented using agriculture and biotechnology as the engagement aspect.  Many of my students are familiar with agricultural practices here in Henry County, and by providing that hook when working with ideas such as the carbon and nitrogen cycle, genetic engineering, and soil composition, I am able to engage them at a much deeper level than simply presenting the content and an example and then moving on,” Martell said. “While not all of the content is applicable to my specific curriculum, I am able to share those lessons and ideas with the other teachers in the science department to help engage the students across the grade levels.”

A focus of Nourish the Future is engaging students with STEM concepts in ways that directly and indirectly impact their lives. Teaching ag-based curriculum in the science classroom inspires students to solve real-world science issues that our world faces today or will in the future. Martell breaks it down to the most basic and shared human need.

“As I mentioned, everyone eats, and it's interesting to see the realization on the faces of students from urban areas when you show them that this is where almost everything in your grocery store is grown or raised, and here's how we do it,” Martell said. “From a rural school perspective, I do think it helps the students realize, especially those that aren't farmers, that there is more to farming than simply getting the crops in the ground and then harvesting them. 

Agriculture is a science- and data-driven field now, and it will be science and data that help farmers achieve their goal of feeding 10 billion people in 30 years.”

As a teacher leader with Nourish the Future, Martell joins a group of middle and high school teachers from across the country all working to advance their expertise in the classroom and increase their influence as teacher leaders and mentors across the country – all while exploring solutions to real-world problems and the connection between science and future careers. The program provides its teacher leaders with opportunities to enhance their teaching skills, develop inquiry-based lessons, learn more about agriculture-related educational paths and careers, and build a professional network of teachers and industry experts from other states. A key part of this program is the Nourish the Future Community Conference, the conference Martell recently attended. The Community Conference provides teachers with in-depth science workshops, engaging learning experiences, networking opportunities with teachers and industry experts from all over the country, and more, inspiring innovation in teaching and learning around agriculture and science.

“At the Nourish the Future Community Conference, I learned specific lessons to engage students using agriculture, but primarily I was exposed to the sheer scope of agriculture and the aspects for which it can be used in the general science classroom,” Martell said. “By being able to tour the trade show floor, I saw the vast array of biotechnology, genetics, and engineering companies that help support cutting-edge agriculture.  I hope to bring that scope into the classroom so that students see that science is in the food we eat.”

The provided lessons from Nourish the Future focus on proven science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) curriculum that connects Next Generation Science Standards with engaging hands-on lab activities in the areas of biotechnology, energy and biofuels, corn and its production and uses, food production to feed growing populations, soil and sustainability and water quality. But Martell said he gets more out of the program than engaging lesson plans.

“Aside from training and classroom materials, which my students directly benefit from using, I also am learning how to be a better teacher leader,” Martell said. “I think that a focus on hands-on, engaging learning will increase the level of thinking that occurs in the science classrooms at the high school, and Nourish the Future provides a lot of curricular support for that to happen.” 

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