For the first time, college-bound high school students in Indiana can take life sciences courses that bring agriculture into the curriculum.
The courses, "Advanced Life Science: Animals," "Advanced Life Science: Plants and Soil" and "Advanced Life Science: Foods," are being introduced over a three-year period: the animals course in 2004-05, the plants and soil course in 2005-06 and the foods course in 2006-07.
Developed jointly by Purdue University and the Indiana Department of Education, the new courses satisfy science requirements for both the Indiana academic honors diploma and the Core 40 diploma, the state's recommended curriculum for students who want to continue their education.
"These advanced life sciences courses are more rigorous than the agricultural science courses that are in schools now," says John Demerly, assistant director for life sciences initiatives with the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE). "Students at schools already teaching these courses have been able to do elaborate experiments, such as computer-simulated open heart surgery on pigs and gene splitting."
Certified science teachers and agricultural science and business teachers can teach the courses once they complete training through IDOE.
"The courses were developed because there is a projected shortage of life sciences workers in the state," says Mark Balschweid, associate professor of youth development and agricultural education at Purdue. "These new courses will help prepare students for a career in Indiana's life sciences industry."
Check out the Web site www.indianaaged.org for more information about the courses and standards.