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Exclamations of oohs and ahhs filled Sardis secondary’s greenhouse with all the wide-eyed wonderment and excitement you’d expect from a group of eight-year-olds in the face of tiny mites, wasps, and beetles.
With magnifying glasses in hand, the young students peered into the petrie dishes as they listened to their older counterparts explain the importance of such bugs.
“They’re beneficials,” said Grade 12 student Megan Voth. “They’re the good bugs we need to keep the bad bugs away.”
A chorus of “whoas,” and “that’s so cool,” gave Voth the encouragement she needed to continue the lesson.
Sardis secondary’s agriculture program recently invited about 300 Grade 3 students from elementary schools across the district to come to the high school over a two-day span and learn about growing plants, greenhouses, pond habitats, pest management, and raising chickens – all things included in Sardis’ agriculture curriculum.
It was the first time the class has offered such a tour.
Teacher Tania Toth said it was a no-brainer to organize the event. For one thing, her students are able to show off their knowledge, and further instill it in their brains. But also, the younger Grade 3 students have been learning about the plant system all year as part of the Grade 3 curriculum.
“This allows our students to teach the things their learning in agriculture, and to encourage other kids to learn about it too,” said Toth.
On the tour, there were four stations set up: the greenhouse, the chicken barn, the planting station and integrated pest management.
Students learned how to plant marigolds and pansies; they learned about the benefits of certain insects; about why greenhouses aren’t actually green; and about silky chickens.
They even got to see a real, dead, black-skinned silky chicken.
And while agriculture can be filled with tongue-twisting, mind-boggling scientific terms that would fly over most adults’ heads, let alone an eight-year-old’s, the agriculture students had that covered.
“We use a lot of easy words and props to explain things,” said Grade 11 student Ty Kirk.
For example, in the greenhouse students were shown a diseased plant, which led into a lesson on how good bugs like ladybugs fight off bad bugs like aphids that can kill plants.
The older students also knew that enthusiasm and excitement can go along way with education.
Practically bouncing on the spot at the plant station, with a huge smile on her face, Grade 12 student Kali Clayton fired off question after question to the younger students before her. This day was meant for Clayton.
“Ohmygod, I love it,” she said. “I love teaching kids anything.”
And what elementary kid doesn’t want to learn from the cool high school students?