By Anne Marie Amacher
DAVENPORT — Educating students on products and byproducts of farming by bringing the farm to the classroom was the focus of a learning experience last week at John F. Kennedy Catholic School.
Scott County Farm Bureau sponsored Ag in the Classroom on March 22 with the help of volunteers from cooperatives in the county. The chairman who coordinates with the cooperatives is Don Holst.
“This is definitely a collaborative effort,” said Diane Croft, administrative assistant with the Farm Bureau.
Ag in the Classroom is offered on two separate occasions, around the time of Ag Week. With a long waiting list for the program, John F. Kennedy had its opportunity to participate thanks to teacher Kitty Temming. The Farm Bureau heard how she taught a Pizza-thon lesson in which students learned to trace the origin of the ingredients for a pizza. The bureau contacted her to see if the school was interested in the program, and it was.
Principal Chad Steimle said the younger students participated in the morning and older students in the afternoon. The favorite activity was visiting a tent on the school grounds with farm animals in it.
Gene Newell, a rural Long Grove farmer, was one of the volunteers in the tent. He and other farmers introduced a rooster and hen, two baby pigs, a calf and several goats.
“All food and fiber starts at the farm — from cotton and corn to livestock,” Newell said.
Back in the classrooms, volunteer speakers talked about soybeans, corn, dairy, sheep, eggs, poultry, beef and pork. A “Mrs. Farmer” session featured a farm wife talking about farm life and products used in the home that come from farming.
Croft said the purpose of Ag in the Classroom is to show students various products they use every day that have ingredients from farms. “It’s something they don’t think about.”
In the egg session students learned that eggs are high in protein, which is good for building muscles. Eggs also serve as a binder that holds ingredients together for items such as cake and meatloaf.
As for farm products they use, but don’t see directly, eggs are in shampoos and lip balms.
In the talk about soybean, the volunteers noted that besides being used as a food it is found in toothpaste, packaging for batteries and in soap. It helps keep skin from drying.
The corn session focused on types of corn: feed corn for animals, white corn, Indian corn and others.
At the end of the day bags with various items were passed out. Croft said bags included a pig eraser, agriculture coloring books, a bookmark with agriculture facts and more.
“They can use it in the classroom then take it home to show their parents what they learned.
“All the items were donated from the commodity groups.”
In addition to John F. Kennedy, the only other Scott County school to get the program this year was Wilson Elementary in Davenport on March 25.