First and second grade students at West Carroll Primary School discovered it takes five farmers to make a tootsie roll: sugar, cocoa, dairy, corn, and soybean. The tootsie roll program is one of many presented by Ag in the Classroom. Mixing the tootsie roll ingredients is Max Eaton, 2nd grader in Miss Herman’s class.
West Carroll 1st & 2nd grade students discovered what is 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. The top producer of sugar cane is Brazil. 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. The leading producers of cocoa are Ghana and Ivory Coast. Students learned how the beans are grown, harvested, and dried.
At the conclusion of the program, the first grade students made Tootsie Roll mobiles showing the five different farmers needed to make the candy. It is amazing that something as little as a tootsie roll involves so many different farms. For the second grade students the teacher’s lounge was turned into a chocolate factory and the students got to make their own tootsie rolls.
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 Carroll County Farm Bureau, Ogle County Farm Bureau, Carroll County Soil & Water, and Ogle County Soil & Water. For more information about the program, call the Ogle County Extension Office at 815-732-2191.