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Students in Mariposa County experienced 'Ag in the Classroom'

The Issue

Many students today do not know where their food comes from or how their actions may affect the water they drink. Agriculture in the classroom is designed to help students have a basic understanding of the important role agriculture plays in our economy and society.

What Has ANR Done?

More than 120 second- and third-grade students at Woodland Elementary in Mariposa County had a chance to experience agriculture and natural resources in action when the University of California Cooperative Extension and the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service joined forces for an 'Ag in the Classroom' event on March 20, 2008.
  • At the pumpkin pie station -- rated by the students as most fun -- they made pumpkin pie in a bag and tasted their work while learning how the American settlers made pumpkin pie inside a pumpkin shell.
  • Each student planted a bush bean seed in a peat pot with the help of the Mariposa County Master Gardeners. Viewing a root-view garden with three different plants, the students learned the parts of a plant, what plants need in order to grow, and how roots develop.
  • The students saw dietary fiber in a cross-section of a carrot, learned about the foods that contain dietary fiber, and what happens to it once they eat the food.
  • Honey comb tasting was the main attraction at the 'all about honey bees' station, where students wore different hats to learn about the types of honey bees, the anatomy of the honey bee, and how the honey bee produces honey.
  • At the NRCS station, the students experienced firsthand how runoff pollution can impact water resources by observing a powdered drink mix simulation that demonstrated how pollution travels through the watershed, contaminating downstream areas.

The Payoff

Students learn how agriculture and natural resources affect their lives

The students at Woodland Elementary were exposed to many facets of agriculture and natural resources. The learning centers helped demonstrate how agriculture and natural resources are a part of their everyday world. The hands-on learning activities also made it possible to introduce more difficult concepts, like the relationship between dietary fiber and health, how the food we eat is grown, why honey bees are important to California agriculture, and that people are dependent on watersheds.

Clientele Testimonial

"I loved making the pumpkin pie. It was so good. I never knew you could make pumpkin pie in a bag. It was the best and the whipped cream was extra special!" - Bailey

"I liked how you let us taste the honey. I liked your station. I liked how you taught me a lot about bees. I liked wearing the soldier hat. It was a fun day." - Jonah

"I liked looking at the bad rice and the good rice. Does the fiber really make you go to the bathroom?" - Kent


Supporting Unit:

UCCE Mariposa County Director Karen Robb, 4-H Program Coordinator Donna Wice, Mariposa County Master Gardners and Master Gardener Coordinator Joan Holmstrom and NRCS Conservationist Dawn Afman.
Margaret Collins, (209) 533-6991, mmcollins@ucdavis.edu