Cockroaches Teach Ag Lit

All 93 students at St. Matthew’s elementary school in Tyrone handled colossal cockroaches, conducted a CSI-style forensic science lab, or tested their senses through hands-on activities—all to better understand how agriculture and the natural sciences affect their daily lives. The field trip focused on building agricultural literacy and teaching students in fun waysElementary school students (photo by Steve Williams) about nature and the origin of their food.

Tiffany Hoy, mother of one of the St. Matthew’s students and assistant director of the Center for Professional Personal Development in Penn State’s Department of Agricultural and Extension Education, has been working with the school principal and teachers to bring agriculture into St. Matthew’s classrooms and developed the half-day interactive workshops. “We wanted to use local resources to create a hands-on educational trip involving agricultural topics,” says Hoy.

Penn State students led 4-H ag literacy programs, showcased insects at the Frost Entomological Museum, and ran the forensic science lab.

“The elementary students were excited about learning and have already started to ask when they can come back to learn more,” says Hoy, who plans to build on the program’s successful first year.