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Celebrating Kansas

1/30/2013

Kansas Day activities help teach students all about their state.

Kansas Day activities help teach students all about their state.

BY RACHAEL GRAY

rgray@gctelegram.com

Learning about the state's agriculture, animals, customs and products is all part of celebrating Kansas Day.

At least it was for students at one Garden City elementary school, where several Kansas Day activities were packed into an afternoon.

Staff, volunteers and guests at Alta Brown Elementary School provided different stations Tuesday that helped students learn about the state of Kansas, or participate in related activities.

The stations included pioneer games, Kansas bees/snack station, Kansas bingo, Sunflower State crafts, cowboy and cattle fun, Kansas animals, hoedown dancing and roping.

Lindy Bilberry, who represented Kansas Farm Bureau, read a book about honeybees. After the informational reading, the students asked questions about bees and honey. Then they got to sample the honey.

Fourth-grader Azael Perez, 10, said the honey tasted "sweetish."

"It tastes good," he said. "It's different than store-bought honey. I learned that not all honey tastes the same."

Estrella Reyes, 9, another fourth-grader, said she learned that bees use pollen to make wax. She also said the honey was sweet.

"It's sweet. Well, kind of. It sort of tastes like candy," she said.

TJ McClure, manager at Circle Heifer Development, spoke to the students about how cattle are raised in the feedyard and then go back to the dairy to produce milk.

McClure took questions from the students, and said it is important for students to know where their food supply comes from.

"In some of the classes they didn't know milk comes from cows," McClure said. "And some thought brown cows make chocolate milk and other cows make strawberry milk. It's just about educating them where the food actually comes from."

Alisa Swenson, fourth-grade teacher, and Jamie Bollinger, kindergarten teacher, both from Alta Brown, hail from Michigan and Ohio, respectively.

They both helped organize Tuesday's activities. The two have learned more about Kansas and said it's important for the students to learn about where they live.

"We have different activities to teach Kansas history and to get kids excited about Kansas," Swenson said.

Swenson said it's vital for students to know their history.

"It's important so they can carry on that tradition," she said.

Bollinger said the activities also touch on some of the Common Core Standards.

"With Common Core, we're trying to get kids to be more global," she said. "But they can also learn that this school wasn't always here, it used to be a field. They also learn how this town and Kansas came about."

She said students can compare and contrast Kansas history and lifestyles to what it is today.

"They can see how things were in the olden days and see how it's the same and different from now," she said. "It will broaden their horizons as well as teach them some history about where they live."

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