Students watch videos about two Iowan agronomists—Norman Borlaug and Catherine Swoboda—and their roles in the Iowa-based World Food Prize Foundation, which works to achieve global food security. They learn that Borlaug dedicated his life to ending world hunger through agronomy, and how he established the World Food Prize, the World Food Prize Symposium, and the World Food Prize Foundation to continue his efforts. Students also learn that Swoboda, a modern-day agronomist and educator, continues Borlaug’s food-production work through her role in the Foundation. They then answer questions about Swoboda’s work and contributions.
This lesson is part of "Great States: Iowa 9 | Activities for Grades 8–12." This unit is comprised of activities for 8th grade and high school students. In this unit, students will explore the environmental, historical, and political factors that characterize the state of Iowa.
H.SS-WH.9-12.26: Assess Iowans or groups of Iowans who have influenced world history.
H.SS-Geo.9-12.24: Identify and evaluate Iowans or groups of Iowans who have influenced Iowa’s environmental or cultural geography.
H.SS-US.9-12.27: Evaluate Iowans or groups of Iowans who have influenced US History.
CG.SS-Gov.9-12.22: Identify and evaluate the contributions of Iowans who have played a role in promoting civic and democratic principles. (21st century skills)
An interactive whiteboard, projector, or another type of screen to show videos to the class
Class set of Educator and Agronomist handout
- Define the term “agronomist.” An agronomist is a scientist who looks for ways to improve food production through soil productivity; quality of seed; and nutritional value of crops.
- Explain to students that the World Food Prize, the World Food Prize Symposium (often called the Borlaug Dialogue), and the World Food Prize Foundation were conceived by the famous Iowan, Norman E. Borlaug. Borlaug is a Nobel Peace Prize winner known for his work in agronomy, and is called the “father of the Green Revolution.” His efforts, along with efforts from the World Food Prize Foundation, have been credited with saving billions of people.
- Catherine Swoboda, a modern-day agronomist, is Director of the Iowa and Midwest Education Programs for the World Food Prize Foundation. She uses her experience with the Foundation, coupled with her science and agriculture education, to teach high school students and schools about feeding the world’s hungry.
- Tell students that they will be watching videos about Norman Borlaug and Catherine Swoboda.
- Distribute the Educator and Agronomist handout, and instruct students to take notes as they watch a video about Catherine Swoboda. As they watch the video about Norman Borlaug, ask students to write down his accomplishments, and then consider how these accomplishments influenced Catherine Swoboda’s work.
- Play the video, Borlaug Receives Congressional Gold Medal | Iowa Pathways. [until 3:09]
- Play the video, Career Profile: Educator & Agronomist | Catherine Swoboda. [3:59]
- Have students answer questions on the handout.
- Her experience with the World Food Prize Symposium [0:50]
- Answers will vary
- To alleviate suffering from lack of food around the world [1:20]
- Answers will vary