Mobile science center

Jason Hodge, MSAC program coordinator with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture's Division of Agriculture Education and Outreach, is shown working with students at East Calloway Elementary in the KDA's Mobile Science Center. East was the first stop the center would be making this week, with stops at Southwest, Murray Middle and Murray Elementary Schools scheduled for the remainder of the week.

MURRAY — The Kentucky Department of Education’s Mobile Science Activity Center (MSAC) is paying a visit to local schools this week to give kids a better understanding of the role of science in agriculture. 

Having stopped by East Calloway Elementary Tuesday, the MSAC will be visiting Southwest Calloway Elementary today, followed by a trip to Murray Middle School tomorrow and a final stop at Murray Elementary School on Friday. The MSAC features a variety of hands-on learning activities that incorporate the lessons kids are learning in their regular science classes, while tying them into the field of agriculture. 

The MSAC is a 44 foot mobile classroom that features tablet computers, a 70-inch LED monitor and an all-in-one touchscreen computer to interact with students. 

“We do hands-on science experiments related to agriculture,” said Jason Hodge, MSAC program coordinator. “All the activities we do fit the science curriculum in the classroom and then have some type of agriculture connection.” 

Hodge said he visited North Calloway Elementary back in September and was finishing up with the remainder of the elementary schools in Calloway this week. Hodge said there are three MSACs in the state of Kentucky, with Hodge handling a majority of the area in Kentucky’s central time zone. 

Hodge said each trailer goes to between 40 and 50 schools a year, reaching anywhere from 12,000 to 15,000 kids a piece. 

“Agriculture is a science, and there is a very close relationship between the two,” Hodge said. “We are emphasizing things that kids are being taught in the classroom. But we are also trying to get a little bit of agriculture in to the kids because so many kids don’t even realize what agriculture is. 

“Even in a rural county, there are so many generations removed from a farm now that most kids don’t realize or have a good sense of where their food comes from. So we want to keep the agriculture connection in our younger generation so they understand what it is and the importance of it. Because it doesn’t matter if you live on a farm or in the middle of town, your life is impacted every day by agriculture.”  

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