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High School Agriculture Science Students Run Elementary ‘Classroom in the Field Day’

Classroom in the Field 5th Ag

Stations are set up for learning in the field during Classroom in the Field Day

At the southern edge of the L-S campus, just past the track and athletic fields, is a small plot of winter wheat. This real-life field was the backdrop for a first-of-its-kind collaboration between fifth graders and the High School’s advanced agriculture science class. Over two days, high school students led hands-on farming, soil and water management, and environmental science activities for Classroom in the Field Day.

Classroom in the Field Day is a creation from teachers Eva Strawser and Holly Oberholtzer. As part of the fifth grade science instruction, which includes units on agriculture and society, watersheds and wetlands, the scientific method, and interaction with the environment, Miss Strawser realized that L-S had an untapped resource in the form of the the High School’s active agriculture department. She contacted Mrs. Oberholtzer and together they put together an educational day of activities beneficial to students at both the elementary and high school levels.

“As the demographics of the school district are changing, less students living directly on a farm compared to when the origin of this school district took place, students needs to see and learn hands-on the material that is taking place in the science classroom,” explained Miss Strawser. “The FFA program and agricultural courses offered in the high school are helping students prepare for possible STEM careers. It was a day where the students gained a true glimpse into the real life application of their impact on the environment around them and potential careers options.”

  • Ag Science Class The Agriculture Science II class awaits their students

    The Agriculture Science II class awaits their students

  • Farm Building Students add fresh greenery to their farmscapes

    Students add fresh greenery to their farmscapes

  • Tractor Fifth graders climb aboard a tractor

    Fifth graders climb aboard a tractor

  • winter wheat A group collects soil samples from the field of winter wheat

    A group collects soil samples from the field of winter wheat

  • Corn Cornbread and a game of cornhole await at the corn station

    Cornbread and a game of cornhole await at the corn station

The STEM-focused field day consisted of a rotation through seven learning stations, each with a different agricultural science focus. Lessons at each station were prepared and led by small groups of high school students.

  1. Why Wheat? - students learned about the growth and production of wheat and took part in a nutrition lesson about what makes a healthy plate.
  2. Corn: the Gold of the Field - students learned about the growth and production of corn, both for food and non-food products, and conducted a How Does Corn Grow? math activity.
  3. Soybeans: More than Just Protein - students learned about the growth and production of soybeans and created soy tealight candles.
  4. Soil: NOT Dirt! - students learned about soil testing, including hands-on compaction and ribbon tests, and the importance of worms to soil health.
  5. Soil: Best Management Practices - students learned soil management best practices and broke into groups to create and present about their own farms or landscapes using props.
  6. Drones on a Farm and Other Technology - students learned about technology in agriculture, including a drone demonstration, a handheld GPS search, and a tour of a modern tractor.
  7. Healthy Water, Healthy Environment - students learned about watersheds, testing samples to determine watershed health.

Fifth graders had the opportunity to interact with older students, examine and ask questions about equipment, and feed their interests in a variety of disciplines. For the agriculture science class, it was an opportunity to put what they have learned into practice as well as a chance to work with younger students. Mrs. Oberholtzer enjoyed watching her students take on the challenge.

“My Agriculture Science II students had the chance to be on the other side of the teacher’s desk for once. They developed, practiced, and adapted lessons plans for the district’s 5th graders right in the field. Some of the students told me that they felt really out of their comfort zone while others thrived in this environment. Overall, the high schoolers really enjoyed teaching the 5th graders and they, themselves, learned a lot. The Agriculture Department was grateful for this opportunity.” she said.

The Agriculture Department, Garden Spot FFA, and fifth grade hope to continue implementing this activity in future years.

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Lampeter-Strasburg School District
1600 Book Rd., Lancaster PA 17602

Phone: 717-464-3311

Fax
Administration Building: 717-464-4699
Lampeter Elementary School: 717-358-1880
Hans Herr Elementary School: 717-509-0300
Martin Meylin Middle School: 717-509-0289
Lampeter-Strasburg High School: 717-509-0485

Email: info@l-spioneers.org

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