The Ag Learning Center offers a variety of unique and engaging hands-on agricultural learning opportunities for students and teachers both in the classroom and on-location at the Sussex County Fairgrounds facilities.
The AG Bag Program
The Ag Bags are offered as a free service from the AG Learning Center to help educators infuse agriculture into a regular curriculum using literature and concept support materials. They were developed by former teachers with experience in preK-gr. 5.
Bags include hard and softcover books [primarily non-fiction], sample materials and other materials as needed. A notebook is included with various projects/lessons/activities that address science, social studies, language arts, art, etc. We deliver and pick up, and teachers may use the materials for two weeks. Topics include:
Berries/Blueberries for Sal
Christmas Tree Farms
- Ecology, Energy & Individual Responsibility
Gardens and Plants
George Washington Carver
Plants: Vegetables & Fruits
Borrow Box Program
Borrow equipment for your classroom to make ice cream, vegetable soup, popcorn, applesauce, etc. or hatch chicks. Click here to view the Borrow Box Catalog
All programs can be adjusted to fit your time constraints. The three grade level experiences described below offer age appropriate information and activities, and were designed by elementary level educators. Each program is about two hours long. Staff can work with you to personalize a visit. Classes may bring snack and or lunch as part of their visits. For more information, or to make a reservation, contact Program Director Kathy Cafasso.
Pre-K/Kindergarten - 'DOWN ON THE FARM' [Spring]
This program has been developed for kindergarten and Pre-K students. Located in the agriculture area of the fairgrounds, the program consists of hands on activities for children at interactive stations. Parent volunteers [maximum of 12] assemble at the fairgrounds 30 minutes before students’ arrival and are briefed by staff on the operation of pedal tractors, washboard laundry, and making scarecrows stations. The staff runs the ‘where do fruits and veggies grow’, dairy, planting veggies, gathering apples & eggs and horse stations with some parent assistants. Students will bring home a vegetable seed they planted. Arrangements can be made for seating for snack or lunch. This program runs about 2 hours. ‘Down on the Farm’ operates in May & June. Admission is $4 per student, adults are free.
Primary grades - ‘The Plant Program’ [Spring]
This program highlights plants. It is suitable for grades 1-4. There are six stations covering Pollinators, Worms, Soil, Germination, What Part Do We Eat? and Water. The visit includes a visit to the Fairgrounds greenhouse and the Conservatory Courtyard Garden. Students will bring home a seed germination project. Arrangements can be made for seating for a snack or lunch. This program runs between 90 minutes and 2 ½ hours. ‘Passport to Plants’ operates in the early Spring. Admission is $4 per student, adults are free. This program can run without parent volunteers.
Fourth grade - ‘Agriculture Time Machine’ [Fall]
This program has been developed for fourth grade students and runs 2-2 ½ hours. It is located in the Snook Agricultural Museum and the Shotwell 4-H Building in the Agricultural Area of the Fairgrounds. The program consists of a look at agriculture in the past and present in Sussex County and New Jersey and supplements the study of the history of New Jersey.
Students visit six stations, three in the past, and three in the present. In Agriculture Past, farm equipment used to harvest crops, shell and grind corn are demonstrated. The farm kitchen is full of labor saving devices from the early 1900s and students make & eat their own butter. Supplies for animals on the farm are shown in the Hay/Straw station, where students learn their differences and uses, as well as the uses of silage and corn plants. The three stations for Agriculture Present require students to examine displays for dairy cows, sunflowers and chickens, answering questions while doing hands on investigations.
Arrangements can be made for snack or lunch to be eaten during or after the program. Admission is $4 per student and adults are free. This program runs in October and very early November.
In School Programs
Learning Center staff is available to do programs in your classroom. Programs can be developed for your specific needs. Contact the Program Director for rates.
‘GEORGE WASHINGTON, FARMER’
This 40-60 minute presentation highlights Washington’s lifelong work as a farmer at Mt.Vernon – his favorite job. It demonstrates his hands on approach to increasing the yield of his crops and breeding of his animals along with quotes from his correspondence concerning his agricultural pursuits. Suitable for grades 3-5.
‘NATIVE AMERICAN AGRICULTURE’
This 60 minute presentation highlights The Three Sisters of Native American agriculture- corn, bean and pumpkin/squash. Students learn about companion planting and what is the contribution of each of the companion plants. Students may also make their own Three Sisters seed packet and recipe book.