On May 24, Highland 1st grade students discovered what was in a tootsie roll—5 different farms. The only thing not from a farm is the artificial flavorings.
Tootsie Roll’s main ingredient is sugar. Students saw a picture of a John Deere combine harvesting sugar cane. The second ingredient is corn syrup. Along with corn, soybeans are also needed for their oil and for soy lecithin. The soy lecithin keeps the ingredients from separating.
Students discovered that Tootsie Rolls would not be complete without dairy farms. Cows provide the condensed skim milk along with whey. Whey is a liquid by-product of the cheese-making process.
The final crop needed is cocoa which comes from cocoa beans. They saw pictures of the pods where the beans develop and saw what the dried unprocessed beans looked like.
At the conclusion of the program, the students made Tootsie Roll mobiles showing the five different crops found in the candy. It is amazing that something as little as a tootsie roll involves so many different farms.
Agriculture in the Classroom is a program to help students gain a greater awareness of the role of agriculture in the economy and society. Students learn that thousands of farm products are in the world around them—on their plate, in the clothes they wear, in the medicine that makes them well, and in earth-friendly fuels and plastics.
Ag in the Classroom is offered through the University of Illinois Extension-Ogle County in partnership with Ogle County Farm Bureau, Carroll County Farm Bureau, Ogle County Soil & Water, and Carroll County Soil & Water. For more information about the program, call the Ogle County Extension Office at (815) 732-2191.

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