FACTORYVILLE — A 40-foot trailer parked in the back of Lackawanna Trail Elementary Center offered lessons such as where our food comes from and why trees are so important. Six hundred students from kindergarten to sixth grade visited the Mobile Ag Ed Science Lab at the school March 25-29 and spent about an hour a day inside the trailer learning about agriculture and participating in interactive projects.
The students are taught by Mobile Ag Ed Science Lab teacher Paula Brennan with the assistance of Trail kindergarten teacher Karen Shaw, who requested the lab to come to this school, having seen the lab during a class through the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau. The Lackawanna Trail PTO and Wyoming County/Lackawanna County Farm Bureau provided the funds to bring the science lab trailer to Lackawanna Trail for the second year in a row.
Students learned how to make items from agricultural products.
“Each experiment gives them (students) a hands-on experience,” Shaw said. “They (experiments) gives kids something to take home and show their parents.”
Fifth and sixth-graders learned how to make plastic.
“This (corn) is a renewable resource we are teaching them about,” Shaw said.
Third and fourth-graders made glue from milk and the second-grade class learned how to make bracelets with beads. The color of each bead represents the needs of the trees such as a blue bead signifying water, a clear bead emphasizing air, and a brown one reminding children a tree needs soil. There were also beads that showed what trees provide us and other living things. A red bead represented apples and other fruits that grow on trees while a white bead represented paper needed for reading and writing.
“We like that it’s hands-on learning for the kids,” said second-grade teacher Dana Marion.
Second-grade student Logan Brink said he learned about lemon trees.
The first-grade students also learned about the significance of trees.
“Trees do a number of important things,” said Brennan. “Trees actually help prevent erosion.”
Brennan explained how the roots of the trees keep topsoil, which is “good and rich,” for farming and save the farmer from having to buy fertilizer.
Brennan also read a story called “The Tree Farmer,” about a boy whose grandfather plants trees. The boy learned how to plant trees and how they are used for making everyday items. The kindergarten class learned from a story about how the ingredients in pizza originally come from the farm.
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