In May of each year the Cascade Conservation District holds Ag Days at the Trades and Industry building. The CCD hosts an annual day-long event for the fourth grade students in Cascade County; the students that participate in the event rotate through six stations.
Ice Cream – they made ice cream. Ingredients were placed in coffee cans which were put in containers of ice and salt. The students rolled the containers to each other in anticipation of the frosty treat they were making.
Butter – they make butter. Students learned about milk cows and how to make butter. They got to see how a churn works and each made a sample of butter to have on crackers.
Rolling Rivers Trailer – at the rolling rivers trailer the students learn about water and erosion. The trailer is a large stream table that enables students to view what would happen if they manipulate a stream channel. Screams of excitement can be heard when a house built on the edge of the bank fell into the river.
Soils – they learn soil. The students make soil horizon card then on to the edible soils; it starts with a plastic cup with M&Ms (bedrock), a spoonful of chocolate pudding (soil) with sprinkles (bacteria and other organisms), one gummy worm (good soils always has worms), crushed Oreos (organic matter), green colored coconut (green grass) tops the delicious soil.
Conservation – they play the survivor island game. The students are given colored cards and told to “survive” by trading cards with the other students; each color represents something i.e. yellow-sun, blue-water, white-air, orange-gold bars, green-dollar bills, and brown-soil. When the trading time is up the leader of the station asks who has a yellow card, blue card and a white card – you will survive because you have air, water and sun. The students then make a bracelet with beads representing water, air, soil, grass, sunshine and people.
Pasta– the next station is learning about pasta making. Pasta Montana and General Mills provided a presentation of the ingredients in pasta and how it is shaped by machine. Students watched as the dough went into the machine and spaghetti noodles came out the side. They were given the chance to feel the noodles, walk away from the station with their own samples of pasta, and new knowledge on the makings of pasta.
Pollinators – here the students learn who the pollinators are and why they are so important. The students get to taste a small tube of honey and then make bee’s wax candles.
Electricity –students watch a demonstration of how electricity can effect a person and equipment. The students learn safety tips when around wires or transformers.
4-wheeler Demo – (new station for 2018) the students learned safety tips as they sat on different sized 4-wheelers. Students learn that the size of the 4-wheeler should match the size of the person driving.
Cargill – (new station for 2018) this station led the students into learning how to extract DNC from strawberries. They smash the strawberries in a plastic bak, while mixing in water, salt, an liquid detergent. Another smashing and mixing of the liquid and strawberries, then a straining of the strawberries into a cup. An amount of rubbing alcohol is added to the strawberries and then the DNA is pulled out. Students have said that it looks like a big mucus pile but have lots of fun!
Sharon Kelley of Sacajawea Elementary School made the following comment after this year’s Ag Days, “Thank you for an amazing, fun and education field trip. This tied into our Montana History Unit nicely. The students said it was the best field trip ever! The parents have also contacted me and told me how exited their children were to share this trip. I have never had this happen before. Thank you for doing this for our students.”
Bonnie Lewis of Gusto Distributing donates bottles of water for everyone. Great Falls Chamber of Commerce Ag Committee and Subway donates the lunch for the students, teachers, parents and volunteers. Meadowgold Dairy works with the CCD to provide cream for the butter and ice cream stations.
Check out the story for Ag Days 2018: http://www.krtv.com/story/38165255/ag-days-teaches-kids-about-where-montanas-food-comes-from