July 2014
Youth Matters

An Exhibition of Gigantic Proportions

  Asbury Early Childhood students were fascinated by the “sights and sounds” of audio-visual presentations on agricultural topics included in the recent Farm Day dedicated to providing experiences for students to reinforce their knowledge about the five human senses.

Asbury FFA conducts a “very unique” Farm Day.

Press Release from Sand Mountain-Lake Guntersville Watershed

While Farm Days are normally eventful and popular, according to Advisor Casey Smith, the first Farm Day conducted by the Asbury FFA Chapter was especially unique.

"It was an exhibition of gigantic proportions, and although it occurred on April 15, it was the coldest day of spring. But the cold weather didn’t dampen the excitement of the kids involved," Smith said.

Farm Day was a petting zoo whereby the pre-K through second-grade kids gained familiarity with several commonplace animals as well as a kangaroo, which is native to Australia.

It  was an Ag in Action learning lab with a 24-foot enclosed trailer housing a transformed cotton picker cab including an electronic learning station.

It was exposure to large farm machinery such as a corn picker.

Asbury pre-K through second-grade students reinforced their sense of “touch” via use of a rabbit at the April 15, 2014, Farm Day. They liked the fuzzy-wuzzy “feel” of the rabbit’s fur. The students are Gundalupe Calderon, Emily Goble, Luke Andrews, Jennifer Lopez and Destiny Smith.  

"And it was more!" Smith said. "It was a reinforcement of classroom concepts learned about the five human senses of taste, smell, touch/feel, sight and sound for Early Childhood students.

"And here’s how it worked. Several weeks prior to Farm Day, pre-K through second-grade teachers taught the five human senses to their students by using classroom resources. These teachers worked hard to ensure their students knew about the sense organs – the mouth, the nose, the hands and feet, the eyes and the ears."

Then came Farm Day providing new dimensions to the students’ learning through exposing them to real world examples, thus making an indelible and unforgettable impression on them.

"The kids had so much fun. They didn’t regard their novel laboratory learning as school," second-grade teacher Shawnee Rains pointed out.

"The hallmark of Farm Day was lessons beyond those provided by teachers and books in the regular classroom. While, as teachers, our regular teaching about the five human senses may have approached monotony sometimes for the kids, they did not experience dull or boring moments at all in their Farm Day experiences," according to Sharon Childress, pre-K teacher.

  Big boys now! Tristen Minton and Evan Stone are ready to roll while participating in the Asbury FFA Farm Day. The two second-graders got the “feel” of driving a farm tractor in the Ag in Action Mobile Classroom. Although the tractor was a simulation, it had all the features of the real thing. Maybe the fellows even acquired some motivation to include farming in their list of potential careers.

School patrons, high school students and teachers furnished farm equipment, animals and other props needed for the grand farm re-creation. The Ag in Action Mobile Classroom was provided by the Etowah County Soil and Water Conservation District. Farm equipment was furnished by Allen Childress and Son, who farm locally.

Students even had the opportunity to "milk a cow" as a model cow with provisions for simulated "milking" was available, thanks to the Ag in Action Mobile Classroom provided by the Alabama Farmers Federation.

Teachers and co-sponsors of the event were Natalie Smith, Shawnee Rains, Sharon Childress, Karla Ashley, Valerie Chamblee, Sheree Howard, Nicole Green, Natalie Floyd, Mary Bethune, Merideth Davidson, Anne Duckett, Dawn Greer, Mary Turner and Nikki Terrell.

Seventeen FFA members were involved in the Farm Day. They included Jovita Perez, Emmalie Burbanks, Laci Rose, Shelly Decker, Laura Bozarth, Maria Chavez, Seth Rains, Cody Templeton, Riley Oliver, Devin Bearden, Junior Gasper, Andrew Spray, Glenn Scott, Ian Downer, Jacob Bates, Ashton White and Michelle Gasper.

"Our Farm Day was such an awesome and multi-faceted event. It really had dual missions. One of its objectives was to challenge Early Childhood students with a day chocked full of hands-on learning. Another reason we had for sponsoring the event was to provide a practicum whereby FFA members demonstrated responsibility and involvement as they helped to plan, set up and implement the day," FFA Vice President Cody Templeton said. "I regarded the event as an opportunity to put youth leadership into action."

Smith noted in his evaluation that the Farm Day was highly worthwhile because it allowed younger students to get an idea of agriculture and where their food comes from. It also featured cross-curricula teaching by Asbury educators and engaged teachers from other teaching specialties in relationships and interactions with the agriscience program as the activities unfolded.

"I thought the use of live examples was a particularly effective way to teach the five human senses. Also, I observed that several of my FFA members had never seen an old-timey corn sheller in operation, and some had never been close to some of the very common farm animals we had on display," Smith concluded.