By P.J. GLISSON
Wakefield – Students of the Wakefield-Marenisco Ok-12 School loved a subject day on Thursday. The web site was parked conveniently proper behind the varsity.
It was in the shape of a big, roving academic van generally known as the Food, Agriculture & Resources in Motion Science Lab.
Known extra merely because the FARM Science Lab, the colorfully painted automobile got here courtesy of the Michigan Farm Bureau.
At the time the Globe visited, fourth grade students of Kathy Makela have been immersed in one of many hands-on agricultural lessons that was a part of the bundle.
“Anyone know what ethanol is?” requested Marsha Wainio, a registered educator for the lab.
She added, “Ethanol is a gasoline produced from corn” and clarified that it additionally will be produced from soybeans.
The children have been in groups of some students every, with stations that included two totally different variations of packing peanuts. One kind was the standard oil-based polystyrene product that has been used for many years. The different was produced from corn.
Wainio suggested students to immerse every kind of peanut in water to see what occurs. “Make a speculation,” she mentioned.
The children have been excited, elevating their arms repeatedly as Wainio requested questions.
Throughout the session, students additionally crammed out paperwork and punched in responses on their station computer systems. Cumulative outcomes then confirmed on an enormous display.
“Most of you mentioned each peanuts would float,” mentioned Wainio whereas referring to survey outcomes on the display.
She additionally requested about what occurred to the feel of the peanuts after they have been positioned in water.
Students identified that the corn-based peanut was “squishy” or “mushy” and that it was extra inclined to start out disintegrating.
“There’s a cause for that, and it is a good cause,” mentioned Wainio. “It’s good for the surroundings.”
She then requested, “Boys and women, why would we wish the corn peanuts to disintegrate?”
One voice referred to as out “So we cannot have trash throughout.”
“That’s proper,” mentioned Wainio. “It’s biodegradable.”
By distinction, she famous, the oil-based peanut will cling round indefinitely.
In an e-mail later that day, Makela summarized her students’ expertise.
“My class actually loved going to the Farm Science Lab right now,” she mentioned. “They’d been wanting ahead to it since they noticed it parked outdoors of our college yesterday.”
She added, “I believe it was a terrific expertise for them to find out about agriculture in Michigan.”
Makela mentioned the students appeared to get pleasure from greatest a lesson on “making corn plastic from corn starch, corn oil, water, and meals coloring.”
She added, “They realized how this plastic is healthier for the surroundings as a result of it’s biodegradable.”
Makela concluded, “Anytime we will supply hands-on experiences like this for the youngsters, it makes a a lot larger affect on their studying and what they take away from it.”
In promotional supplies, the Michigan Farm Bureau experiences that its Farm Science Lab is staffed by regional educators skilled in Next Generation Science Standards.
It promotes the lab as “geared up with the most recent educating applied sciences and STEM-based lessons to extend agricultural consciousness.”
According to the MFB, “Michigan’s meals and farm sector produces greater than 300 commodities and generates greater than $100 billion in financial exercise yearly. Not solely is agriculture essential to students personally, it’s vital to our state and nationwide economic system.”
MFB claims that the FARM Science Lab – which was conceived and partly funded by county Farm Bureau members and facilitated by the Michigan Foundation for Agriculture – has visited greater than 400 Michigan colleges for the reason that fall of 2017.
Agricultural commodity organizations and company sponsors additionally assist to fund the lab.
More data is accessible at farmsciencelab.org.