Welcome Fall. The nuts are shaking and the orchard floors are being swept as a new harvest hits the hullers. Ag In Motion has begun a new fall tradition of adding eighth grade lessons to the menu for schools. Our plan this year is to have 14,000 students cross the mobile lab threshold and we are well on our way.
What fun it was to be in the lab and see the excitement on the faces of the eighth graders as they entered the lab for the second year. So far the density lab has been the most popular (and most messy) lab we have completed. In this lab the students explore the density of four different types of liquids.
Predictions are made, testing is completed and results are recorded. Of course there is time at the end to explore how an understanding of the density of a liquid is used in many agricultural applications from irrigation to fertilization.
Later in the school year we will be exploring the chemistry of milk, soil and photosynthesis.
One thing that we have already learned is that these new labs consume resources! We have been busy purchasing large quantities of oil, syrup and ethanol. Volumes of dish soap have also been procured to clean up the sticky, oily mess after the fun is over. So if you are inclined, a donation to help with lab supplies this year will be greatly appreciated as our grocery bill is climbing!
Another innovation in the lab this school year is our new clicker evaluation system. When the students enter the lab they are given the opportunity to test their knowledge by answering a few questions using a remote control clicker. The students answer questions again at the end of the lab session and the data is collected and will be analyzed. We hope that this data will help us to improve our instructional technique and gain a better understanding of what the students learn in the lab.
The level of excitement from both students and teachers is amazing. School budget cuts have made "fun with science" a luxury. Thanks to AIM these students get to explore hands on science again this year.