Introduction

Like many other scientific fields, the US faces a shortage of plant breeders. Unfortunately, American youth are losing ground to peers in other nations (Baldi, et al., 2007). Only 18% of our high school students are proficient in science and math skills, and only 5% of them graduate with science degrees compared to 66% in Japan and other countries (National Academy of Science, 2007). America’s position in the global marketplace is at risk as student performance in SET disciplines declines and as SET literacy standards rise. Our project seeks to educate a key demographic group (middle and high school students) about the importance of plant breeding in agriculture and careers in plant breeding. Middle and high school years are a critical time for strengthening scientific and mathematical interest and abilities, especially for females and minority youth (national Academy of Sciences, 2006). 4-H Science combines the strengths of experiential learning and youth adult partnerships with the National Science Education Standards to improve science literacy skills and inspire the next generation of scientists.

Objectives

  1. To increase knowledge and importance of the field of plant breeding on a global scale
  2. Increase awareness about careers related to the field of plant breeding on a global scale
  3. Improve attitudes and aspirations towards careers in science in general, and plant breeding specifically.
  4. Provide opportunities to learn life skills and 4-H science abilities while learning about the field of plant breeding
  5. Engage youth in experiential and inquiry-based activities while teaching subject matter related to plant breeding and basic genetics

Want to Learn More?

Review Plant Breeder Terminology on our glossary page

Find out new and exciting facts on our facts page

Check out links to virtual games, informational websites, and more ways you can get involved