Lanigan Elementary 6th Graders Become Tapped For Success

Madeline Viscome shows off maple syrup she helped produce with her classmates, thanks to a free statewide competition from National Agriculture in the Classroom.

FULTON – Sixth-grade students at Lanigan Elementary have become the sweetest producers of maple syrup after they learned all about its production for a state-wide contest for schools.

Under the guidance of sixth-grade teacher Brad DePoint, the sixth-graders tapped maple trees behind the school and for about one month collected sap, boiled it for the evaporation process and bottled the delicious maple syrup. The effort was made possible thanks to the organization, National Agriculture in the Classroom.

The agency’s free “Schoolyard Sugaring” project sent DePoint all necessary materials to set-up the collection and production process, and the students got to work. The kits included the following items: 10 blue sap bags, 10 galvanized sap bag holders, 10 7/16” hookless aluminum spouts, one 7/16” titanium tapping bit, one syrup hydrometer and one stainless steel hydrometer test cup. 

After the set-up was complete, students were tasked with collecting the sap, measuring it and recording their findings before they clipped the bags back on the trees for repeated sap collection. That, and other parts of the process, were detailed by sixth-graders as they took their fourth-grade peers on a small tour of their set-up.

DePoint said the fun, hands-on lesson also had several ties to the sixth-graders’ math lessons, including fractions, writing expressions and equations. They were able to figure out how much syrup would be produced per gallons of sap collected. Students then completed peer presentations, to which they shared with other classrooms throughout their school.

DePoint said it would be nice to grow the maple syrup production and expand it to other schools throughout the Fulton City School District.