Students conduct colorful experiments in mobile lab

Posted by on November 29, 2012 in Southern Elementary | Comments Off

Students heat white soybean flakes mixed with food coloring.

Publications/public information coordinator,
Southern York County School District

Glen Rock, Pa –Southern Elementary students conducted experiments recently when a mobile agricultural science lab visited the school.

The Ag Mobile, also known as the Mobile Agricultural Education Science Lab, is part of the Pennsylvania Friends of Agriculture Foundation, a division of the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau (PFB). The lab creates an opportunity for students to learn about agriculture in a fun and hands-on way.

“At a time when fewer children have any link to farming, our labs help children connect with agriculture,” PFB President Carl T. Shaffer said.

Liquid soybean oil is poured into molds.

The Mobile Agriculture Education Science Lab is a 40-foot trailer, equipped with all of the materials and supplies needed for students to conduct the hands-on experiments. A certified teacher travels with the Ag Lab to conduct experiments with the students. For the past three years, Ruth Smith, a retired teacher from the Red Lion Area School District, has been teaching students in the Ag Lab.

Some of the experiments include germinating seeds under different conditions, creating crayons from soybeans, and testing the water capacity of different soils. At Southern Elementary, third graders learned about soybeans and how they are used in farming and in everyday life, particularly with different kinds of crayons.

Students compare soybean and motor oil crayons.

“As scientists, you will investigate crayons, which are made from two different items,” Smith told students during the “Colorful Bean” experiment.

Through their experiments, the students observed and compared the flakiness, brightness, and coverage of crayons made from soybean oil to those made from motor oil. They also determined which crayons were safer for the environment. They observed as white soybean flakes were mixed with food dye, then liquified into a mold, and made into crayons.

“Hopefully you learned that farming is important, even in crayons,” Smith said to the students.