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close this bookPrimary School Agriculture: Volume I: Pedagogy (GTZ, 1985, 144 p.)
close this folderPart II: Teaching methods
close this folder2. The structure of teaching units
View the document2.1 Breaking down a scheme of work into units
View the document2.2 Defining objectives for the sub-units
View the document2.3 Indoor and outdoor activities in a sub-unit

2.2 Defining objectives for the sub-units

Teachers planning their sub-units and lessons should be clear about what they want the pupils to learn during that particular sub-unit or lesson. The units as outlined above take too much time to warrant a detailed statement of objectives. They have general objectives, i.e.

- getting the practical work included in each unit done in time,
- making as much use as possible of the learning opportunities provided during that particular period of farm work. Since a sub-unit is a sequence of lessons organized around one or a few closely related practical activities, objectives should be defined at this level. During lesson planning, the various objectives can then be apportioned to single lessons. But only a few objectives can actually be attained in any one lesson since much of the learning will depend on how the activities in the lessons making up a sub-unit are linked with each other. Up to the end of a sub-unit, there will be frequent references to things done earlier or activities yet to take place. An example will make this clearer: it is a sub-unit built around the activity of harvesting a maize farm. It consists of ten single lessons, but the objectives are defined for the sub-unit as a whole:

1. Objectives Concerning Farm Work

- harvest a crop of maize,
- weigh the crop in preparation for storage and drying.

2. Objectives in Agriculture

- revise and deepen knowledge of maize farming,
- identify possible causes for the yield recorded,
- discuss ways and means of reducing losses,
- discuss the main pests and diseases affecting maize,
- teach about weights and weighing,
- teach about the concept of yield per standard unit.

3. Skill Development

1. Study Skills

- do observation,
- sort and grade objects,
- keep records,
- analyse observations and draw conclusions,
- summarize results (use of graphs, charts, and summary reports).

2. Social Skills

- team work during practical work and during classroom work,
- work organization.

These objectives are divided among the lessons of the sub-unit and broken down into more detailed objectives:

A. Introductory Lessons

1. Lesson on Content Preparation:

- Pupils recall the main steps in maize farming.
- Pupils know the main pests and diseases affecting maize on the farm.
- Pupils know the signs of attacks by birds and weevils and fungus diseases in maize.
- Pupils have an observation sheet for sorting and grading maize cobs.
- Pupils are able to use a balance.

2. Work Organization

- Pupils know the various tasks to be performed at harvest time: harvesting, dehusking, assembling the harvest row by row, sorting and grading, counting cobs, recording observations, weighing.
- Pupils are grouped in teams of two or three.

B. Practical Work

- Harvesting
- Pupils harvest the maize.
- Pupils grade and sort the maize row by row.
- Pupils weigh the maize row by row.
- Pupils record the results of grading, sorting, and weighing row by row.

Practical Work: Harvesting

C. Follow-up Lessons

1. Assembling the Observations

- Pupils and teacher have the complete picture of all observations (row by row). - Pupils know the total number of cobs and the total weight harvested, according to the various grades of cobs and for the whole farm.
- The observations are assembled in a way which permits further analysis in class.

Follow-up Lesson

2. Lesson on Yields

- Pupils know the yield per hectare achieved on the farm.
- Pupils can explain the advantage of yield per standard area over the yield on a given farm.
- Pupils assess the yield in comparison with maize yields elsewhere.
- Pupils list the main factors responsible for this particular yield of maize.

3. Lesson Topic: How Did Soil Fertility Affect our Maize Crop?

- Pupils are able to assess soil fertility at the beginning of maize farming in terms of initial soil quality, previous farming, and activities to maintain or improve soil fertility.
- Pupils are able to read a graph and draw conclusions.

4. Lesson Topic: How Did the Climate and the Seed Material Affect the Yield?

- Pupils are able to check the water requirements of maize during its growth against the distribution of rains during past seasons (in terms of observations about particularly dry and wet periods).
- Pupils are able to discuss the properties of the seed material used.
- Pupils recall methods of selecting seed material.
- Pupils are able to state an hypothesis on the effect of seed material on the maize crop.

5. Lesson Topic: How Did our Work Schedule Affect Yields?

- Pupils are able to draw conclusions from a comparison between an ideal crop calendar for maize and the actual work schedule as documented in the Labour Records of the previous season.
- Pupils are able to identify farm operations that were so badly out of time that they might have affected yields.

6. Pests and Diseases Affect Yields?

- Pupils can recognize the damage done to maize by birds, weevils, and fungus diseases.
- Pupils are able to estimate the loss due to birds, weevils and smuts, in terms of quantity and in cash value.
- Pupils are able to use a graph in order to find out how different types of damage are distributed over a farm.
- Pupils know simple ways of fighting pests and diseases on the farm.

7. Summary

- Pupils are able to make a summary table of factors affecting maize yields.
- Pupils are able to draw conclusions from a summary table.

This and other sub-units are included here. They will all show the objectives of the subunits and those of the lessons making up that sub-unit. In going through the material carefully you will get an idea of how objectives at these two levels might be defined.