Ag In The Classroom
The purpose of the LaSalle County Agriculture in the Classroom program is to promote awareness of agriculture to the 4th grade students and how it touches our everyday lives through lessons and materials that are easily integrated into our schools curriculum and help meet the Illinois Standards of Learning. Being a large county with 45 grade schools and approximately 76 classrooms at each level, we decided to focus on the fourth grade. We have developed a series of five 1-hour hands on lessons for our fourth graders that our coordinator is providing to the area schools.
The first lesson is: What We Produce in Illinois. The students learn how rich Illinois is in agriculture. They learn what the six top commodities produced in Illinois are and the many uses they have in our everyday lives. The students learn that a farmer has many roles in the business of agriculture. The second lesson is A-MAIZE-ing Corn. The students learn more about the corn plant and the many uses of commercial corn and what renewable and nonrenewable resources are. The students make corn plastic and dissolve eco-foam. The third lesson is: Soybeans Do So Much. The students learn the parts of a soybean plant and an individual soybean. They also learn how soybeans are processed. Our coordinator discusses many food and non-food products, make soy crayons, dissect and label beans and plant seeds. The fourth lesson is Dairy - More Than Milk. This lesson teaches students what dairy products are, the nutrition these products provide us with and the care the farmer must provide for his dairy cattle. They learn about some of the breeds of dairy cattle and the process of cheese making. Each student makes a sample of cottage cheese by adding an enzyme (chymosin) and following a step-by-step process. The fifth is: Livestock - Much More than Meat. The children learn what animals are on Illinois livestock farms and the care these animals require to stay healthy and grow to their potential. They learn about the many people involved in bringing livestock products to our homes. They discuss the food products as well as the by-products. Our coordinator also teaches the various parts of the animal these by-products come from and what household products these by-products are found in.
In terms of funding, one of our major funding sources is the annual AITC golf outing. The funds raised through this event allow us to apply for matching grants through various state and agriculture related agencies.
To schedule a presentation, please call Ron Burdon, LaSalle County Farm Bureau Foundation Agriculture in the Classroom coordinator at (815) 579-1089.