Much of the focus on education has shifted to improving math and reading skills, but researchers worry science is getting left behind.
Kansas State University field crop entomologist Brian McCornack said that we need more students interested in agriculture to protect our food security.
"So one of the biggest challenges we have over the next few years is food security, so making food available and accessible to people," McCornack said.
The university is trying to spark the interest of students by getting teachers excited about the topic. A three week summer course called the Soybean Summer Science Institute gives the teachers a chance to feel like students again.
The educators learn how to teach through inquiry, which is asking questions and exploring a topic instead of simply being told facts. New teacher Betsy Sanders said that the experience has been eye-opening.
"Science is grossly becoming one of those curriculums that's kind of getting set back. It's in this new age of trying to bring it more into the classroom and get kids hands on," Sanders said. "There's a lot of studies and a lot of things going on that say students that experiment and that inquiry are really gaining more information from it and it is something that all students from the lower level to the higher level learners can really take from it."
The Soybean Summer Science Institute began at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2010. The teachers were also given i pods to document the experience and create lesson plans. Those lesson plans are available to other teachers on the website mysoybean.org.