EagleHerald/Rick Gebhard
First-grade students from Amanda LaFave’s classroom build a farm with Marsha Wainio, Michigan Farm Bureau, (left). They then hang a “farm charm” around Taylor Schultz’s neck, as teacher’s aid Renee Ruleau gives one to Keegan Borths during the visit from the FARM Science Lab Thursday at Stephenson Elementary School. The teachers filled the bag of charms with elements (symbols such as coffee for soil) that are essential to farms such as soil, nutrients, sunshine, water and trees.
EagleHerald/Rick Gebhard

First-grade students from Amanda LaFave’s classroom build a farm with Marsha Wainio, Michigan Farm Bureau, (left). They then hang a “farm charm” around Taylor Schultz’s neck, as teacher’s aid Renee Ruleau gives one to Keegan Borths during the visit from the FARM Science Lab Thursday at Stephenson Elementary School. The teachers filled the bag of charms with elements (symbols such as coffee for soil) that are essential to farms such as soil, nutrients, sunshine, water and trees.

<
1
2
>

STEPHENSON — Students of Stephenson Elementary School experienced a new kind of education when the Farm, Agriculture, Resource in Motion (FARM) Science Lab made its stop at the school Thursday and Friday.

FARM Science Lab is a mobile teaching environment that specializes in teaching students about agriculture. “The 40-foot mobile classroom brings hands-on, field trip-type learning experience directly to schools,” a press release states. 

Inside, the FARM Science Lab is equipped with computers, monitors and educators, all ready to help the students learn about agriculture through various age-appropriate lesson plans. Each of the lesson plans align with the Michigan curriculum and standards.

“The State of Michigan is really working on its science programs, and FARM Science Labs align with all the new standards,” Stephenson Assistant Principal Rebecca Marciniak said.

The educators can pick and choose different lessons which can be selected to match a specific school’s criteria and the grade levels. Stephenson Elementary chose two lessons, one for grades K-2 and the other for grades 3-5. Each lesson lasts about 30 to 50 minutes, Marciniak said.

Marciniak said that the school had learned about this program last year, and had worked to gain the funding to bring it to Stephenson. “The Stephenson PTO and Menominee County Farm Bureau raised the money for this project,” she said. “Once we had the funding, we contacted the FARM Science Lab and got it reserved for this year. We’ve been working to bring it here all summer.” 

Marciniak said that the school was very interested in this project because it helps the students learn in ways that are not just sitting in a classroom all day, and because of the impact farming has on the community. 

“It’s agricultural, so it really pertains to our area,” she said. “We’re very excited to have this here. It’s a great way to get the students out of the classroom and excited about learning.” 

Marciniak noted that if the opportunity ever arose, she would love to have it back in future years. “This is an opportunity that we are gaining, without even leaving the school. It’s like taking a field trip without having to go anywhere,” she said.