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May is for Field Trips

May 20, 2015

May has been very busy for me at work. My Conservation District rents out 2 different no-till drills to local farmers. I have been helping move the drill through out the county with my one co-worker. This can be time consuming because you can’t drive very fast when hauling a heavy no-till drill. I’ve also been helping out with school education programs. I really enjoy getting to teach kids about science, agriculture, and the environment.

The first program I did was for 6th graders. This program focused on pH and its effects on water quality and wildlife. Explaining pH to 6th graders can be challenging, so I used a lesson plan called Red Cabbage Chemistry. The juice from a red cabbage works like a pH indicator and will change colors when you add acids or bases to it. This is a great way to demonstrate different pHs in household products. I also collected water samples from my family farm pond, which is full of fish, and from a local Acid Mine Drainage(AMD) impacted stream. The kids had visited the AMD stream in 5th grade and knew that there was no aquatic wildlife. Showing the students the difference in pH between the farm pond at 6.5 and the AMD stream at 4 helped them to understand the importance and effects of pH on water quality.

The second program I did was for 2nd graders. This program showed the students what foods they eat come from farms in PA. I complied pictures of plants and animals that can be found on PA farms and pictures of the food products that come from these plants and animals. The students really enjoyed getting to guess/shout out the answers. Something I found very interesting is that at least half of the students didn’t know where chocolate comes from. The #1 response I got when I asked them where chocolate comes from was “Milk.” This provided me the opportunity to explain that chocolate comes from the cacao tree and all milk that comes out of any color of cow is white milk. Some of the students were shocked!

As much as I enjoy teaching students, I realize at the end of the day I do not have the patience to be a full time teacher. I have complete respect for teachers and all their hard work. Teachers are truly amazing individuals.

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