Learning outside the classroom

UCA students tour South Holland’s Ed Miniat cooked meat plant

by Melanie Jongsma

SOUTH HOLLAND, Ill. (September 27, 2018) – Yesterday afternoon, 23 freshmen students from Unity Christian Academy emptied their pockets, removed their jewelry, and spit out their gum before donning hairnets, hardhats, earplugs, and goggles. That’s all part of “suiting up” in order to be on the floor of the cooked meat plant at Ed Miniat LLC.

As part of a Humanities unit, the students had read excerpts from The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair, which describes the meat packing industry of the early 20th century. UCA’s integrated approach to learning—combining topics such as History, Literature, Philosophy, Theology, and Social Sciences—as well as their relationships with local businesses, led to the Miniat field trip. The experience gave students an opportunity to feel the processed meat with their hands, to hear the noise of the plant floor, and to smell the process of processing. They came prepared with questions about how the industry has changed, and their conversations led to more holistic understanding of business, government, health, working conditions, unions, and economics.

In the culinary area UCA students felt some of the meat products that Ed Miniat produces. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
In the Ed Miniat conference room, UCA students took notes and asked questions during presentations from different Miniat employees. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
With hardhat, hairnet, earplugs, and goggles in place, UCA student Barbraje Bobo is ready to tour the Miniat plant. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
UCA Academic Dean Neil Okuley also suited up for the tour. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
A flock of orange hardhats feels the chill of the freezers and hears the roar of machinery as they tour the Ed Miniat plant. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)

Unity Christian Academy is located at 16341 South Park Avenue in South Holland, Illinois. The school is hosting an Open House on Monday, October 15, at 6:45pm. Parents who are interested in asking questions about enrollment for the 2019–2020 academic year are encouraged to attend.

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