Scalpels, test tubes, and microscopes. When these three words are put together, most will think of a science lab, scientist or professor. When 4-H says those words, we are describing the equipment our 4-H and FFA members used during the TSU Ag Day held on the campus of Tennessee State University.
While most were on fall vacations, eight 4-H and FFA members traveled to TSU to learn and discover information about animal and plant science. Just in the last couple of months, TSU has generously provided programming for youth in all areas of agriculture. Some programs could include, but not limit to, biofuels, plant reproduction, soils and many more. They are currently in the process of providing short day visits to the campus in the family and consumer science field as well.
During the morning session, youth were sent to a large science lab for the animal science class. The group was split into groups and handed a preserved sheep eyeball. May sound gross, but the kids grabbed their scalpels and followed the directions.
“Wow, this is awesome,” was just one of the many comments made when discovering the lens, retina, and vitreous humor. Shortly thereafter, students were able to work with swine and sheep reproduction organs. Discovering the differences between the two, how many follicles are present in each.
To round out the animal science portion, each youth were given a test tube of liquid. In one of the tubes a small amount of tuberculosis was placed (tuberculosis an easily spread disease that is now being vaccinated for in livestock). The task for the group was to go to two other individuals and exchange fluids in the tubes. They were to show how easily a virus can spread within a group of animals. Tuberculosis is a highly contagious disease in cattle that can be spread by fluids being exchanged, such as sneezing or coughing.
The youth were very excited about the session and were left with wanting more and more. A fantastic meal at the campus cafeteria was enjoyed, as well as a short campus tour. The group traveled to the on-campus farm for plant science, and worked with plant and animal cells under the microscopes. We also discussed feeds and how livestock consume their feeds. The afternoon session was very hands-on while using onions, potatoes, and their own saliva for the animal cells.
A very tired group reflected on the day on the ride back to Warren County, with Ian Pursley saying, Today was a lot of fun. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about swine reproductive tracts and look forward to the next TSU visit, especially if we get to eat at the campus café because it was good.
Any questions about campus tours, visits or day camp, contact the Extension office at 931-473-8484.