Department Course Descriptions
Courses in Agricultural Sciences are diverse and unique. Courses in the department can be divided into the following six categories. Click on a class to read a description.
*Note: courses with the "ES" notation are also approved by the district and state as science electives and will count on a transcript as science courses. All UW System universities and most private colleges will count these courses as science classes. These courses cannot be used as substitutes for required science courses.
Courses in Agricultural Sciences
Roughly a dozen different semesters of instruction are available in Agricultural Sciences, covering a wide range of topics and concepts. Courses available to students are…
- Agriscience (Spring and Fall): this is the introductory course and prerequisite for all other agricultural
Agriscience begins in September with the scientific method and provides students with the opportunity in October and November to explore any relevant topic of their choice. While students are exploring their own interests through self-designed labs, they also explore the basic underlying concepts that make all of agriculture possible, including cellular respiration, photosynthesis, decomposition, and the carbon cycle.
In the spring semester, the focus shifts to DNA and genetics. Students spend the semester exploring the most current topics in genomics, including cloning, stem cells, and genetic modification. Students begin each day in the fall in the greenhouse and have the opportunity to work with animals if they choose as part of their own personal experiments.
- Veterinary Pet Care (Fall): this course focuses primarily on dogs and cats, providing instruction on general
emergency responses, and nutrition of our favorite four-legged friends. Using materials from veterinary technician degree programs, this course provides students with a strong background in the medical field by covering topics such as sutures, bandaging, and physical exams. Students periodically work with live animals to learn medical techniques.
- Large Animal Veterinary Science (Spring): in this course, students are treated like first-year veterinary or medical students. Students are taught how to diagnose and treat disease by covering topics including bacteriology, immunology, and physiology. Using the iconic dairy cow as a model for all health management, students are guided through many of the same topics that are central to health occupations. Students have direct access to live department animals to practice protocols and health procedures.
- Natural Resources (Fall): this is a class that is ideal for hunters, outdoor enthusiasts, and environmentalists alike.
Students are guided through environmental science by considering the four main causes of extinction. Students spend a lot of time outdoors conducting tests, measuring ecosystem health, and assessing the quality of different wildlife habitats. They learn to identify invasive species, set game limits, and determine the sources of pollution. This course also counts as a science elective credit.
- Biotechnology and Biofuels (Spring): this course is a laboratory-based class that guides students through all topics related to renewable energy and alternative fuels. Through a partnership with UW-Madison and the US Department of Energy, students have the opportunity to
make and test biodiesel
and ethanol in class. They bioprospect in order to find microbes that can produce enzymes needed for products such as biofuel, antibiotics, and yogurt. They explore the alcohol industry and learn how alcohol affects the physiology of the human body. At the end of the class, they produce root beer and cheese using their understanding of microbiology and fermentation.
- Home Gardening & Horticulture (Spring): this is the only class where you get to eat your final exam. Students are guided through topics in natural science by using gardening as a model. Students will learn how plant growth and production occurs while designing and planting their own gardens. This course also counts as a science elective credit and can transfer as college credit into Gateway Technical College.
- Landscape Design (Spring): in this class, students begin by learning the principles of design as it
relates to creating
appealing and environmentally-friendly landscapes. Through a partnership with Miller Park, students gain firsthand access to real-world landscaping projects before designing and implementing their own projects that are created on the school grounds in April and May.
- Greenhouse Management:in this class, students gain the skills necessary to work and succeed in a greenhouse setting. With topics ranging from plant propagation to the identification of pathogens and diseases, students will gain training that can be used directly in career related to plants.
- Agribusiness & Marketing (Fall): this is a course that melds economics and business into an easy-to-understand discussion that is relevant to any high school student. By relating economics to everyday decisions, students gain a strong grasp of how business decisions are made in a way that they can relate to their own lives as well as to the largest industry in the world. Students conclude the class with lessons on marketing, learning how to sell just about anything using the basic principles of supply and demand. Shortly before the winter break, students travel to the Chicago Board of Trade, the world’s largest commodities exchange and have the opportunity to visit the trading floor to
learn from the brokers themselves.
- Advanced Leadership (Spring): beginning with the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, students learn the principles of leadership week by week by considering their own choices and outlook on life. Students are then put to the test by designing their own field trip and final exam in the final quarter. Few classes change personally change students as much as this one does. You can expect to grow and mature rapidly from the start to the finish of this course and gain a much wider perspective on how you can more effectively work with other people through personal improvement and development.
- Agricultural Coop (Fall and Spring): students have the opportunity to participate in a school-to-work program and receive course credit through on-the-job training. Students can enroll provided that they are currently or will be employed in an agriculturally-related job. Students must receive approval from the instructor prior to approval.
|Agricultural Sciences courses are hands-on as often as possible, requiring students to use their knowledge to solve real-world problems. Using top-level facilities, live department animals, and rigorous instruction, students in Agricultural Sciences gain the best education possible.
||Students combine real-world skills with advanced concepts in science in order to gain preparation for challenging and advanced careers. Students become better prepared for college and for careers through Agricultural Sciences.
||In Agricultural Sciences, we leave the classroom whenever we can. Some courses spend weeks outside, performing tasks or taking measurements that cannot occur inside. Because the problems we face cannot always be understood or solved in a lab or a classroom, we take field trips often.
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