Connecting STEM to agriculture.
STEM is a curriculum based on the idea of educating students in four specific disciplines — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — in an interdisciplinary and applied approach. Rather than teach the four disciplines as separate and discrete subjects, STEM integrates them into a cohesive learning paradigm based on real-world applications. Students pursuing degrees in STEM are carving new tools to find solutions to feeding the drastically rising demand for food.
Farmers cannot feed the world alone. If we solely rely on the diminishing number of farmers to meet the demand of food, there won’t be enough to go around. That's where STEAM comes in!
What is STEM?
Can we sustainably grow enough food to feed the world without utilizing STEM?
The United Nations projects that by 2050 the world population will have risen to 9.7 billion people—more than 2 billion more people than today! To feed everyone, we will need a lot more food, which makes agricultural technology incredibly important. Agricultural technology is the use of science, technology, engineering and math to make agriculture better. This can mean a wide range of things, including preventing plant diseases, gathering data to optimize crop yield (the amount of food you can grow on a piece of land), using resources like water more effectively, or even creating more nutritious versions of a vegetable through genetic breeding.
Where does agriculture fit in?
In many ways, agriculture is a barn roof that all the STEM fields fall under. The study of agriculture, food, and natural resources involves biology and genetics, engineering, physics, chemistry, math, geology, and other scientific fields.
Interested in a STEAM Career?
Matching the demand for food means increased efforts to improve efficiency, yields, equipment design, genetics and more. Below is a list of just a few examples of the efforts from STEAM careers that will help us feed the increasing population.
Technology – Internet of things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Big Data are entering agriculture with a promising solution to meet food demands. These devices could stretch beyond the limits of what large-scale machinery could ever reach. Smart farming is becoming more common, with drones and sensors leading the way to better results.
Genetics – Scientists are improving genetics of both plants and animals which has allowed farmers to improve the traits of each following generation of offspring. Desired traits allow high-performance crops and animals.
Byproducts – Sustainable solutions that better serve the environment and our future are being discovered and put to work in agriculture. Utilization of byproducts can allow farmers to maximize the use of their resources. Research is currently being conducted to better understand what byproducts could mean for the future and how they can deliver a better product for our environment.
Let's Keep GROWing
Want to dig deeper into the topic?
Download the lesson plans and accompanying student worksheets to engage students and challenge them to think critically about STEAM.