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Mobile Ag Lab Visits Westtown-Thornbury

Mobile Ag Lab  Kindergarten students learn about where the ingredients from pizza come from  Kindergarten students make up their take-home pouches of pizza ingredients and their sources

The parking lot at Westtown-Thornbury Elementary School was recently home to the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau's Mobile Agriculture Education Science Lab. The "Ag Lab" was parked at the school during the week of January 22 providing students the opportunity to learn about farming, food, fiber, and the environment in a fun, hands-on manner. 

The Ag Lab is a 40-foot trailer complete with 12 workstations where students conduct hands-on science experiments that teach a lesson in agriculture. Kindergarten students learned about pizza making, which begins long before the pizza show. For example, they discovered that the flour for the dough comes from wheat seeds; the sauce is made from tomatoes; cheese requires milk, which comes from cows, and so on.

Fifth-grade students performed an experiment that required them to form a hypothesis. Their task was to determine if glue made from milk can compete with a glue that is made from synthetic materials. Each of the grade levels had a turn in the Ag Lab performing other various experiments.

"With fewer children having a tie to farming, we created the Ag Lab program to help teachers educate more students about the importance of agriculture," said Rick Ebert, president of the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau.

The Ag Lab lessons are coordinated with each of the teachers and are led by a certified teacher that travels with the lab. The lab is stocked with all of the material and supplies needed for the experiments.

The lessons meet Pennsylvania Department of Education Science & Technology and Environment & Ecology Standards and are endorsed by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.  Each science experiment is designed to emphasize a different aspect of agriculture, including Pennsylvania's primary commodities, the environment, biotechnology, food, and fiber. 

5th-grade students listen to instructions before making glue out of milk  Picture of lab sheet that asks if glue made from milk and complete with synthetic glue  Students make glue out of milk