The Pennsylvania Farm Bureau’s Mobile Ag Ed Science Lab made a stop at Tyrone Area Elementary School for the week to teach students about different aspects of agriculture. Members of the Tyrone Area FFA were also given the opportunity to assist with the labs and socialize with elementary students.
The Mobile Ag Ed Science Lab is a mobile trailer that travels around Pennsylvania every week to provide students with hands-on experiments pertaining to agriculture. The experiments vary in topics from environmental to biotechnology to food science and more. The Mobile Ag Lab has come to TAES for the past couple of years, and many FFA members look forward to it.
“The Mobile Ag Lab is one of my favorites out of the many events we do at Tyrone Area FFA. Working with the kids and teaching them about the organization and agriculture is always fun for both the members and students,” said Chapter Sentinel and junior, Colin Jackson.
From first to fourth grade, each class in the elementary school has a 50 minute period in the Mobile Ag Lab sometime during the week. The experiments for first and second graders are the same while the third and fourth graders have a slightly more involved experiment in a different topic area.
This year, the experiment for the younger grades was titled “Tops and Bottoms.” It taught about growing plants that don’t always have a distinct top or bottom; they grow out the middle instead. A middle plant could be ones like corn, peppers, or tomatoes. The students could pick seeds for a type of middle plant and they kept them in a bag with soil moist which acts like soil. This bag got a string attached and became a necklace in which students hung under their shirts until they got home or could plant the seeds.
“I enjoyed helping with the lab just as much as the kids participating did,” commented Jackson.
The second experiment for the older grades was called “No Soil? Now What?” and it discussed the ideas of growing crops without soil using techniques like hydroponics. The students worked in groups of two to create their own hydroponic system using a plastic cup and Rockwool (a type of growing medium). These systems got pea seeds planted in them and were taken back to the classroom for growth monitoring.
Overall, the FFA members who participated in helping with the Mobile Ag Lab greatly enjoyed it, especially the first-year members who never got to experience this before.
“The Mobile Ag Lab was an eye-opening experience for me and it was an amazing opportunity. It helped me learn more about FFA and the different opportunities it can offer to me in school, but what it can lead to in life,” remarked first-year member, Rayann Walls.