All About the Children

At Mills Elementary School, agriculture takes root

A wall of petrified bugs — monarch butterflies, crickets, wasps, cockroaches and dragonflies — attracted the immediate attention of Mason Parks.

“I’ve seen all of these before,” Mason, a first-grade student at Mills Elementary School, said excitedly Friday morning. Mason, his classmates and a number of other elementary school students at the school got a tour of the Seed Survivor mobile classroom Friday, learning more about soil, seeds, water, plants, animals and agriculture.

“When you have hands-on experiences, everybody just comes together,” said Kate Cucci, a teacher at the school who helped coordinate bringing the mobile classroom to the school.

The goal of Seed Survivor is to educate the next generation about the importance of agriculture and where food comes from, and it’s sponsored by Agrium and Crop Production Services. Non-profit organizations are selected in each state the program is offered in and help coordinate schools and local presenters to deliver a one-hour presentation to elementary students.

Outside the classroom, students learned about how farmers are able to use a little land to plant food for the whole world. Students were also able to take the start of their own little garden home with them, planting a sunflower seed inside a cup.

“When I get home, I’m going to take the lid off, put it in the sun and water it,” said first-grade student Valeree Garner. “Plants need air, sun and water.”

Inside the classroom, students got to play different matching and interactive video games, focusing on different systems. In one, students have to keep a tree alive by collecting all the things trees need and avoiding poisonous diseases. Another game took students under the root system of a tree to see how far roots travel for nutrients.

Meghin Delaney: 941-745-7081, @MeghinDelaney