The Indiana State Fair has always been a great place for kids to learn about agriculture while having fun, and now the fair is offering more educational opportunities than ever before. Five new field trip experiences for children in grades 2-12 are available, each one designed to meet specific academic requirements, according to Andy Klotz, Indiana State Fair Commission, Indianapolis, public relations director.
All the programs take about two-and-a-half hours with time built in to explore other parts of the fair, and each teacher leaves with 10 lesson plans and support materials for use in the classroom to reinforce what students learned on the field trip. Teachers are encouraged to register their classes by July 15, although registration will be permitted until the schedule becomes full.
“Lots of teachers like to begin the school year with a fun field trip that engages kids through a unique experience they can’t get in the classroom,” said Stephanie DeCamp, the fair’s education director. “These new structured programs will be a nice complement to our other well known, self-guided educational programs like the Wonder Trail and Little Hands on the Farm.”
The new programs all focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) learning. They are available Aug. 12-15 unless otherwise indicated:
• Seed Survivor – Eight interactive stations featuring multi-media and virtual reality games allow students to explore plant growth and development. This is designed for grades 2-3;
• My American Farm – Students receive firsthand experience planting seeds in the Living Plant Necklace Lab and learn about the proper equipment needed to plant and harvest crops while caring for the land. This is designed for grades 5-6;
• The Versatile Bean – Soybeans are used in a wide variety of products, and not just food. Kids will extract DNA to make plastic materials and interact with farmers through satellite communications as they discover the bean’s various uses. This is designed for grades 7-12;