DeKalb students experience Ag History Expo
“In the hallways I hear kids talking about getting in the combine, as well as getting their hands in the soil!”
DeKalb School District instructional coach Emily Weller still hears students converse about the memorable History Expo that took place at Farm Bureau this spring. About 560 DeKalb third grade students attended the 2nd Annual Ag History Expo over four days at the end of April.
The Expo addressed historical events and innovations as well as how the past has influenced modern-day agriculture.
Some of the activities included: dissecting corn kernels, feeling different types of soil, determining common uses for corn, envisioning the size of prairie plants, sitting on antique tractor seats, climbing into a combine, shelling field corn, learning about the seasons of agriculture, sequencing the DEKALB winged ear logo, and much more.
Emily said, “Our current learning standards emphasize understanding your community and local history. The Expo gives students a ‘hands-on’ experience to learn about local agricultural history that helps our community stand out from others.”
“Students learned about glaciers, prairie grass, and the impact on the soil. They also learned about innovative ideas that helped agriculture transform with the use of modern equipment,” expressed Emily.
The farm equipment proved to be one of the highlights of the field trip. Kids had an opportunity to climb inside a combine. “It’s as tall as my house!” one student exclaimed when he saw the huge machine for the first time.
Although these students live in and near DeKalb, many were unaware of the agriculture around them. The first Expo was planned in 2017 with this in mind. Emily and fellow instructional coach Steven Bell organized the now-annual event with the help of the DeKalb Area Agricultural Heritage Association, the Joiner History Room, the DeKalb County Soil & Water Conservation District, and the DeKalb County Farm Bureau.
The strong sense of community and generosity that has developed from DeKalb’s history was evident from its dedicated volunteers and supporters. They included Bayer Crop Science (Waterman) , DeKalb FFA, DeKalb Implement, and Paulson’s Agricultural Museum (near Rockford).
After such an unforgettable field trip it is Emily’s hope that she continues to hear hallway chatter about the Ag History Expo for years to come.