Sitting next to a cow on a stool with the familiar "got milk?" slogan, fifth-grader Jenna Lesinszki furiously squeezed as much water as she could into a bucket.
"I'm trying to get it all the way to the top," she said, grinning in the auditorium at Pemberville Elementary School. "It's already half way there, but it's very painful on your fingers if you do it for a while."
As the 11-year-old thrust her legs forward to get more comfortable, Stephanie Hernandez from COSI on Wheels leaned over and told her that had she been milking a live cow, instead of a fake one with bottles of water inside, she'd most likely be stepped on if she didn't tuck her legs in and squat.
Through 10 hands-on activities, Eastwood fourth and fifth-grade elementary school students learned about agriculture in Ohio last week through the COSI Agriculture Adventure program.
The event began with Ms. Hernandez and Cesar the mechanical chicken co-hosting an hour-long, mock cooking show, where they created pizza after making the ingredients from scratch.
"It's just a gag cooking show for the kids, and they're entertained while they're learning," she said. "This shows how much work it takes to be a farmer and how [food] goes from the farm to their dinners."
After the show, students were permitted to roam free in the auditorium to stations where they ground wheat into flour, learned how to plant seeds, tested soil for pH levels, chose foods tmade from crops, and explored fabrics and fibers through interactive activities and games.
Along with learning a-bout agriculture and farming, the children had some fun.
"I'm rich," shouted fifth-grader Kyle Patterson, 10, who slung a sheepskin around his shoulders and pretended it was an expensive fur coat. After he was finished horsing around, he said he was able to tell the difference between the hide of a sheep and one of a cow.
After sticking his thumbs into a milking machine, fifth grader Enrique Miranda, 10, was able to feel the pressure a cow feels while being milked.
"It's squishing them like it's taking out the milk," he said.
Fifth-grade teacher Lisa Wank said she felt the hands-on exercises will help students to learn.
"I don't think the kids all know what goes into farming, and I think it's great that it's exposing them to a lot of different aspects," she said.
The Wood County Farm Bureau paid the $800 fee to bring COSI on Wheels from Columbus to Pemberville, and officials said they hope to do the same for one or two other school districts ev
ery year, said Barbara Ward, the bureau's promotions and educational co-chair.
"The board feels it's important that children learn about agriculture," she said, adding that agriculture is the number one industry in Ohio, and that Wood County is one of the biggest agricultural counties in the state. ery year, said Barbara Ward, the bureau's promotions and educational co-chair.
"The board feels it's important that children learn about agriculture," she said, adding that agriculture is the number one industry in Ohio, and that Wood County is one of the biggest agricultural counties in the state. "It's important for kids to realize where their food comes from."
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