GALLIPOLIS FERRY — Kindergartners at Beale Elementary started their Thursday not knowing why pigs roll in the mud, though that all changed by the end of the day.
This week, all 292 students at Beale Elementary were treated to lessons from the West Virginia Farm Bureau’s Mobile Agriculture Education Science Lab called “Ag on the Move!”
Principal Patricia Brumfield said she became aware of the special mobile classroom at an educator’s conference and felt it would fit perfectly at Beale — and Beale was the only school in Mason County which hosted “Ag on the Move!” Brumfield said the school paid for the visit to happen and it was “well worth the money” because, as she put it, the lessons the students learned were engaging and used “real” items students relate to, allowing them to apply science to their own lives.
The mobile classroom is housed in a full-sized trailer with the science lab presenting hands-on lessons and experiments related to agriculture while including science, technology, social studies, English, music and math skills. Also, parents were invited one evening to take a peek inside the trailer and talk with the trainers to see exactly what was happening in that mobile classroom.
Some of the lessons included: Super Slurper, Groundhog’s Garden, Garden in a Glove, Corn to Plastic, Making Sense of Senses and Making Glue from Milk.
Susann Murphy, the lead lab teacher for the week, also used a variety of educational displays inside the mobile classroom to help students connect everyday items such as ice cream, leather, meats and Crayola crayons to their related agricultural resources, Brumfield said.
On Thursday, Murphy asked kindergartners gathered in the mobile classroom why those pigs rolled in mud.
“Because it’s squishy,” was one answer, but not the correct one.
Murphy then got into what happens when kids run around on a playground and how sweating keeps them cool but pigs can’t sweat, hence, the need for mud which also acts as sunblock.
“He (the pig) can’t go in the store,” one kindergartener surmised when it came to the availability of sunblock … if you’re a pig.
“He (the pig) can’t even open the door,” another kindergartner chimed in.
The logistics of being a pig led to discussions on cows and what bees bring to the dinner table and more.
Assisting with the visit were Future Farmers of America members from the Mason County Career Center who acted as “ag aides.” Participating FFA members were Catherine Payne, Marlee Bruner, Hannah Taylor, Lauren Russell, Erin Kidwell, Kelly Belcher, Kaitlyn Dunn, Richard Haga. Brumfield said FFA advisors, Sam Nibert and Tim Kidwell, along with MCCC Principal Cheryl Moore, were instrumental in allowing students to participate each day.
Brumfield explained having “Ag on the Move!” parked at the school was like having a four-day field trip.
The mobile lab is available to travel to any interested school in West Virginia and is staffed primarily by a team of retired educators. For more information on the lab, go to www.wvfarm.org or call 304-472-2080.
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