Middle school students can experience the richness of science with real-world applications. Agronomy - Grow With It!, a new book from the American Society of Agronomy (ASA), explains the science behind the food we eat.

“Agronomy is an application of basic sciences – life science, physical science, earth science, engineering, and technology,” Comfort Ateh, one of the authors, said. “Teachers can engage students in making connections between basic science and real life issues. Schools that want to enhance students’ science literacy are going to be interested in this book.” Ateh is an associate professor of education at Providence College in Rhode Island, and chair of the ASA K-12 Committee.

Agronomy - Grow With It! highlights modern issues in agricultural science, from soil microbes to NASA climate models. Key terms are defined. Illustrations clarify complex principles such as agroecosystems and the nitrogen cycle. Co-authors with Ateh are Melanie Bayles, academic program coordinator for the plant and soil sciences department at Oklahoma State University; Greg Welbaum, professor of plant biologist at Virginia Tech; and science writer Judy Mannes.

“We based our discussions on the best science that is currently available,” Bayles said. “Agronomy - Grow With It! serves as a springboard to get students thinking about, talking about, and doing research to learn more about hot topics.”

The book also supports Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), an important measure for teachers and districts endorsed by the National Science Teachers Association. A companion web site (www.agronomy4me.org) will launch this fall to complement the book. It will include additional information, activities, and lesson plans.

In addition, each chapter features the contributions of modern scientists working to solve some of the world’s most vexing problems.

“Agronomy is an important and rewarding career,” Welbaum said. “Diverse, cutting edge career opportunities are available. Through sound research and a positive attitude we can save the planet and feed everyone through sustainable practices.”

Agronomy - Grow With It! can be purchased on www.societystore.org and Amazon.com or by calling 608-268-4960. It will be available electronically this fall in the ACSESS Digital Library, https://dl.sciencesocieties.org/. Educators interested in classroom adoption may contact Lisa Al-Amoodi (lalamoodi@sciencesocieties.org).