Science was the order of the day as Polk Central Elementary held its annual Day of Discovery on November 8.
Students from every class in the school, pre-K through fifth grade, participated in a day of science activities related to the topics of healthy foods – how to grow them, what they do for our bodies and how to prepare them.
Generous community members who presented information on growing/raising foods included:
- Morgyn McDaniel from the Rutherford High School FFA who talked about raising chickens
- AJ Searcy, farmer from Polk County explaining the steps from farm to market
- Heather McDaniel, farmer, who demonstrated how to use a pressure canner to preserve foods
- Lindsey Edwards, Polk County High nutrition teacher, helping children understand the reasons for healthy and unhealthy foods
- Art teacher Michael Darpino, who set up still life displays for students to draw in the style of Paul Cezanne
- Jimmi Buell, Polk County Cooperative Extension agent, who hosted a Hummus and Veggies Tasting Session
- Kiersten Wilbur, Muddy Sneakers coordinator, who discussed and provided samples of wild edible foods, including black walnuts and sourwood leaves, berries, dandelion greens and white pine tea, ginger and sassafras tea
- Dr. Lisa Broyles of Saluda Family medicine, discussing everything from acne and eczema to heart attacks and tummy aches
- Clint Pace of Southern Agriculture with a presentation (and creepy samples) of beneficial insects
- Lee Mink, farmer, who captivated students with his explanation of seed growth
- Mike Odle, farmer with Swiftwater Farms, explaining the miracle of soils
- Erika Shanks, Bearded Bird Farms, with her incredible mats of microgreens and a very popular microgreen pesto
- Jason Craig, Once Upon a Cow, discussing dairy farming and how to make yogurt
- Aaron Bradley, Colfax Creek Farms, explaining how to raise animals for food
- Richard Reece, Swiftwater Farms tractor man, explaining the equipment used by farmers
- Jon Klimstra, TK Family Farms, discussing the stages of apple
- Daryl Nelms, Swiftwater Farms, providing a yummy apple tasting session.
Motivated fifth graders have been studying photosynthesis and the carbon cycle, how to grow food, how to process and cook foods, the nutritional value of foods, and the impact of healthy foods on various body systems. They led and assisted in teaching the sessions, noting that “it is so much fun to teach the little kids,” “this is hard work,” and “I learned a lot from teaching about healthy foods.”