Fourth grade students explore pizza production for a lesson in agriculture
FORT WORTH -- A little girl tossed a sheet of dough to a man in an apron, who flung the disc through the air to the delight of about 400 screeching fourth grade students.
A farmer just a few feet away milked a cow for another group of youngsters as a specialist of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service showed off fresh pineapples, tomatoes and other produce by the side of a stocked vegetable garden.
It all took place under the roof of John Justin Arena in Fort Worth, where more than 1,000 children left their classrooms for the afternoon to experience Pizza Ranch. The annual field trip event welcomes fourth grade students from all over the county to learn about agriculture by observing the production of pizza ingredients.
2017 marks the event’s 20th anniversary.
“Pizza was the thing that had the most food products on it, so that’s how we came up with pizza,” said John South, one of the event’s founding members with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.
He said the event’s founders identified fourth graders as the most likely group to comprehend learning materials, take interest in the event’s activities and to share their experiences among peers and parents.
Pizza Ranch features four rotating teaching stations that each instruct fourth graders on a different topic: livestock, dairy, vegetable produce and nutrition.
“We learned how much time it takes to get the ingredients, to make the dough, to make the sauce,” said fourth grade student Eric Arredondo. “The animals play a big part.”
The children at the end of the educational tour arrive at a pizza exhibit where employees of Domino’s pizza toss dough with the children and show them how all the ingredients come together.
“Pizza is healthy but you also need to have the right portion of it,” said fourth grade student Jaqueline Villalva about what she learned at Pizza Ranch. “I will go tell my parents about this awesome trip.”
More than 1,000 fourth graders converge for the 20th annual Pizza Ranch field trip event at John Justin Arena in Fort Worth, Texas.