This class is a mixture of ag and science," says John Markhowell, a senior at Graceville High School. "A lot of people think its just plants and doing work in the shop and all."
He will be one of the first to complete the agriculture bio technology program at Graceville High School this year. The program actually started last year but takes two years to complete. Agriscience teacher Mark Mauldin teaches the bio technology curriculum amongst other ag courses.
"It takes the hands on applied aspect of career and technical education courses and combines it with the academic rigor of a really high end science course," says Mauldin. The Agriculture Bio-technology curriculum was implemented last year because of the Race to the Top initiative, which provides funding for schools implementing new programs focusing on science math engineering and technology.
With that funding, resources like livestock and lab equipment were provided to GHS. Students were in a classroom today reviewing for a test but are regularly outside in the barn.
Mauldin says regardless of what his students choose to do as a career skills they are learning will help them in other careers too.
"The biotechnology that applies to the cattle is very very similar if not identical to that which applies to humans so the principles they're learning can be applied to a variety of science-based professions," says Mauldin.
A junior at GHS, Caroline Nichols describes some of the things they learn. "We talk abut the different genetic traits that are more helpful for our plants and animals to be more profitable for our farmers because our farmers now have to now feed the world on half the land they had 50 years ago."
Once students complete the program, Mauldin says they'll have the necessary skills to earn a industry certification.