Before Ag in the Classroom presentations get underway, an awful lot of behind-the-scenes work takes place.
There is a different AITC presentation for each 1st-4th grade level and each presentation is designed to be as engaging and hands-on as possible. First graders plant corn and soybean seeds and learn how and why farmers grow them. Second graders make ice cream and learn about dairy farming. Third graders dissect corn kernels, compare kinds of corn, and explore uses for this important crop. Fourth graders identify products from Illinois agriculture and use highway maps to search for related sites across the state.
All those hands-on lessons require supplies and training, so each year the Ag Literacy Committee meets in mid-January to prepare supplies. A week later, volunteers gather for an AITC training session.
Presentations will take place in almost 150 classrooms throughout the month of February.
New and returning volunteers Daniel Kempf, Brad Shive, Matt Wassmann, Meredith Bend, and Rachel Welch pretend to be 3rd graders by sequencing the steps of corn production in the new corn lesson during the volunteer training.
Each Ag in the Classroom presentation requires items like seeds, cups, and bags. Here, Ag Literacy Committee members (clockwise from left) Pam Bybee, Brenda Woker, Allie Clark, Donna Langford, Melissa Irick, Pam Olson, Lynn Byington, and Jolene Ward prepare supplies during a “work night” meeting in January.
Committee members Melissa Irick and Susan Foster assemble volunteer packets for the Ag in the Classroom program.