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Volunteer teaches 3rd grade about winter wheat

Staff writer

Hillsboro Elementary School volunteer Jamie Peters believes it is imperative that children know food doesn’t just manifest itself on grocery store shelves in a poof of magic smoke.

“I have always wanted kids to be more educated as to where food really comes from,” Peters said. “I only recently came across the resources to do that.”

Last year, she volunteered for the Agriculture in the Classroom program at the elementary and was able to engage different grade levels in various projects such as making cream with the first grade, aiding the fourth grade in working with chickens, and teaching third graders about winter wheat.

With degrees in Animal Science and Elementary Education from Kansas State University and Wichita State University, paired with experience on her family farm and ranch, performing ag-related volunteer work at the elementary was a natural progression for her.

She recently planted winter wheat with third graders again this year, and will work with them to show them its journey from field to dining room.

Peters thinks that hands-on lessons allow young students to learn without necessarily knowing they are learning, because such projects tend to immerse students in the natural process and allow them to experience subject material on a more intimate level.

With the winter wheat project, she first showed students how to prepare the land for planting by adding fertilizer and removing weeds.

During the project, students will remove some wheat plants to study the different parts and how plants grow.

Peters works in tandem with third grade teacher Lenna Knoll to educate students according to the science curriculum.

Students will get to make, roll, cook, and eat tortillas in the final stage of the project.

Peters said tortilla recipes were easier for students to make than bread because they did not incorporate yeast, which requires a greater degree of culinary skill.

“We grill them right there in the classroom,” she said. “It shows them how wheat becomes flour and flour becomes food.”

Last modified Nov. 5, 2014

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