Students at Eugene Field Elementary School spent part of Wednesday taking an educational journey from the farmer’s field to the dinner table by exploring the University of Missouri Extension’s Food Power Adventure.
Going from station to station, students learned where food comes from and how their bodies turn nutrients into energy.
Food Power Adventure is a traveling exhibit that gives students a hands-on, interactive look at how food is grown and consumed.
Displays included the "pizza farm," which demonstrated how farmers grow crops that are turned into tomato sauce, flour and other ingredients.
Students also viewed a food packaging and labeling display where they inspected milk carton labels for nutrition information.
After a stop at the "cafeteria" to select healthy foods, the youngsters made their way to a model of the digestive system, which has the power to transform food into energy and nourishment for growing muscles and bones.
Physical Education teacher Joe Masciovecchio said that the students enjoyed the event.
"What they enjoy the most, I think, is the hands-on aspect of it," Masciovecchio said. "It's very sensory. They’re touching things. They learn well that way, and it's different than just telling them to eat healthy in a classroom."
MU created the Food Power Adventure with partial funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's supplemental nutrition assistance program, which was created through the federal Healthy and Hunger-Free Kids act.
Masciovecchio said Eugene Field Principal Holly Brady heard about the program a few months ago, and asked if it would be something that the school could participate in.
Additional support for bringing the exhibit to Maryville was provided by the local Extension office and students from Northwest Missouri State University.
Northwest elementary education majors ran the stations and answered questions.
"Without them, we would not have been able to do this," Masciovecchio said. "So there’s a big shout-out to the Northwest students.
"The kids really look up to the college students. They see them come in here, healthy and in good shape, and they want to be like that too."