Mobile Agriculture lab visits Warren Elementary students

Times Observer photo by Lorri Drumm Students at Warren Area Elementary Center took part in various hands-on learning experiences in the The Mobile Ag Lab, sponsored by the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, this week. Pictured, Ag Lab teacher Cathy Vorisek led a group of second grade students and their teachers through a story of a little red hen and her trials of making pizza.

Students at Warren Area Elementary Center took turns taking time out of the classroom this week by gathering in another classroom — on wheels.

PA Farm Bureau’s Mobile Ag Ed Science Lab spent the week parked up on top of the hill at the elementary center.

On Thursday, one group of second graders, took part in a story that demonstrated there can be much more involved in creating a pizza than ordering one from your favorite shop.

Students sat on the floor of the lab, each one holding something needed to make a pizza, from scratch. The role of the pizza maker, AKA Little Red Hen, was played by Ag Lab teacher Cathy Vorisek.

Vorisek looked the part with her hen hat and her large hen puppet. She was joined by teachers portraying the hen’s friends — a pig, a horse and a lamb.

As Little Red Hen prepares to make a pizza, she discovers she’s missing ingredients, including a pizza pan. With each step in the process, the hen goes to the window (of her chicken coop?) and asks her animal friends for help. Each time they refuse. Each time they refuse, the students and teachers called out their animal versions — “Nay, naah and noink.”

Little Red Hen suffers from exhaustion from running around and getting ingredients but she makes a pizza. The pizza winds up being much too large for just her.

When the hen goes to the window to ask her friends if they will help eat the pizza, she doesn’t see them. The friends smelled the pizza and were gathered under the window.

As Vorisek asked the students if the friends were willing to help, this time the students chimed in with, “Yay, yaah and yoink.”

Vorisek wrapped up the story describing the animal’s full bellies and even a generous hen who gave her friends the extra pieces of pizza. The students then moved on to the next activity, also intended to connect them with agriculture and science.

The Ag lab is a mobile agriculture education science lab, complete with supplies and a certified teacher. It travels to a different elementary or middle school in Pennsylvania each week. The lab is designed to target grades K through 8.

The 40-foot mobile lab contains 12 work stations. Each station provides space for two to three students to complete hands-on experiments. The lab accommodates up to 25 to 30 classes per week, by teaching five to six 50-minute science classes per day.