ROCK SPRINGS, Pa. — With back-to-school season upon us, Pennsylvania Farm Bureau chose Ag Progress Days, held Aug. 18-20, as a relevant time to announce the addition of two new Mobile Agriculture Education Science Labs.
The labs, which will be available for the 2010-2011 school year, will give every school district in the state access to agricultural education.
The first Ag Lab traveled to schools in 2003, serving Fulton, Franklin, Cumberland and Adams counties in the south-central region.
Since then, more than 283,000 students in 47 counties have participated in an Ag Lab, said Tonya Wible, Mobile Ag Lab program director.
Each lab comes with a certified instructor and all of the materials and supplies needed for experiments. Teachers also have access to training prior to the lab visit.
The lab offers four levels of curriculum for grades kindergarten through eighth. Options are available for “walk-through curriculums,” where younger children can participate in a 30-minute hands-on activity where they are introduced to basic agricultural concepts.
Older youth engage in 50-minute labs, covering a variety of topics including water analysis, plant genetics, tree growth and the nutritional content of foods.
Although the Ag Lab program has outlined and determined specific educational needs for each grade level, Wible said one thing remains the same for everyone.
“We start every lesson by asking, ‘What is agriculture?'”
The two new labs, acquired through a fundraising campaign that generated more than $200,000, will reach an additional 40,000 to 45,000 students each year.
Wible said there has been overwhelming support of the program from teachers, parents and even the children themselves.
“To them, it’s kind of like a field trip, right there on the school premises,” she said.
For more information or to schedule the Ag Lab, visit the Web site at www.aglab.pfb.com or contact Tonya Wible at 717-439-0863 or firstname.lastname@example.org.