Wednesday, January 31, 2018


Today the classes learned more about the metric system, as we continued our lesson of math in agriculture.  To add in a little language arts as well, we talked about prefixes and suffixes!  The group learned about milli-, centi-, and kilo- used in measurements of volume, weight, and length.  They listened to a metric system song to help them remember the meanings, and then we followed up with an activity where the kids worked in groups to put cards in order.  

My favorite part of this class is when we talk about all of the things that are going on right now on the farm.  Today, we talked about many things going on right now, but one of them was our livestock guardian dog's injury.  Something has been bothering him for the last couple weeks, but I was unable to figure out what.  I explained to the class that a vet was coming out to examine him right after class today.  The cool part was that this particular vet happened to be a former homeschool student right here in Fayette County.  Many of the students in the afternoon class even knew her younger brother!  We talked about her success and hard work, and just her upcoming visit was a great lesson!

I encouraged the class to have full participation in writing this week's stories, and they did an amazing job!  Some wrote about the little goat, KitKat, and her new home.  Others wrote about our grumpy mini-horse and came up with a story about her attending anger management classes!  These stories were seriously awesome!  In the younger class, I read the book "No Dogs Allowed".  In this book, a restaurant puts up a "no dogs allowed" sign.  It then modified the sign to read "no dogs or cats".  This goes on and on, and eventually ends with a lesson in exclusion, forgiveness, and loving others.  It led to a wonderful discussion about equality and kindness!

We were able to soak up a little bit of sun today, and with the flux in weather this winter, we'll take what we can get!

In art today, the class worked on Valentine's Day cards.  Ms. Gina walked them step by step through some ridiculously cute designs!  Next week, we will make Valentine's boxes in preparation for our party on the 14th!

Thursday, January 25, 2018


I was very disappointed to have to cancel last week, but the snow and ice left us no choice!  It was great to be back with all these smiling faces!
Morning Farm Chores!

Today's lesson was all about measurements.  We talked about the difference between volume and weight, and the difference between a fluid ounce (volume) and an ounce (weight).  It can be very tricky!  On the farm, animal feed is measured in pounds.  Each animal needs a certain amount of feed per day, given by weight.  Now, that would be fine except.... we use scoops for dishing out the grain, not a scale!  I explained that in order to make sure to give the correct amount of feed to an animal, we need to weight the feed and mark the correct volume of feed needed on the scoop.  
Both classes guessed that the layer pellets would weigh less than the all-stock pellets, because the all-stock pellets are larger.  To their surprise, the layer pellets were heavier!  We talked about the difference between large pieces and small pieces, and how the larger pieces allow for more air spaces between each pellet.  (For example, there is more air between a gallon of ping-pong balls than a gallon of marbles!)   As we measured and experimented, we talked about our hypotheses and results. 

I have talked to the class about ways to administer different livestock medications.  Today, we reviewed medicines given as paste and those given as injections.  (The younger class learned that the letters T-I-O-N make the "shun" sounds, and they came up with examples of other -tion words!)  Medications are measured out in mls or cc's.  We discussed how cc stands for cubic centimeters, and it means the volume that is in a 1cm x 1cm x 1cm cube.  This lead to a discussion about dimensions, and the meaning of "3D".  And, speaking of 3D.... we integrated art perfectly!  The kids learned how to draw 3D shapes in the younger class.  The older class learned how to create 3D effects to block letters!  These turned out wonderfully, and I was so excited that not one child had ever learned this fun drawing technique before!  

Let's cross our fingers for some great weather to get us through the rest of the winter.  Surely we've had enough ice and snow!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Math in Ag!

I missed these guys!!  Our class was jam packed!  First, we had a lot of Farm News to catch up on.  Yesterday, I loaded up the steer into the trailer and drove the two hours to my favorite processor.  I estimate that he weight around 1100-1200lbs, and I'm excited to see what the hanging weight will be.  I explained to the class the weird abbreviation for pounds: lbs.  We calculated up the amount of feed that I was giving to the steer per day, and multiplied it up to see how much total grain was fed.  Then, we took the price of 50lb feed bags and figured out the total feed cost.  They then added that to the cost of the steer itself (or an average cattle price), and the cost of processing.  They all realize now why beef costs so much!  I love sneaking in math!  We will be doing a lot more math next week!

Next, the class learned about toxins and why it is super important to keep dangerous things (such as moldy hay) away from livestock.  We talked about the use of activated charcoal to bind to chemicals in the stomach.  Activated charcoal is used in animals and in humans!  If someone consumes a poison and has to go to the emergency room, they are often given a lot of activated charcoal.  I explained how messy this is to administer to livestock!  They then learned about different types of injections and how to lines on a syringe represent mls.  We talked about the metric system, and the meanings of deci-, centi-, and milli.  They used syringes of different diameters/sizes and sucked up 1ml of colored water.  I explained to the class why the skinny syringes had to be almost full, but the fatter syringes barely had to move to suck up the same amount.  Volume lesson for the WIN!

Next week, we will be talking about cc's and ml's, weight vs. volume measurements, etc!  I told you... I love sneaking math into agriculture lessons!  Both classes learned about the need for wormers.  Parasites in the grass cause problems with livestock in most every pasture.  Most of the time, the worm load is light, and the animals' bodies can handle it.  Sometimes, the worm load is too much for the animals and they need to be given a wormer.  The classes learned about wormers that are given as liquid, paste, and by injection.  This led to an awesome lesson about the three states of matter: liquid, solid, and gas!  We were able to give our donkey her paste wormer and the goats their oral liquid wormer.  The kids learned a lot AND were a big help!   

As always, we have a constant come and go of animals on the farm.  Animals are born, animals are sold, new animals are brought in!  During their break, the older class helped me to take pictures of the new bucklings to post on the website's sale page!  Later on this year we will talk about animal registration, pet quality animal sales, lineage, and why some animals are more expensive than others.

In art, Ms. Gina taught the class about the CowParade, an international public art exhibit that is features in major cities throughout the world.  Fiberglass cow sculptures are given to local artists to paint in their own special way.  Then, they are displayed around cities in public spaces such as train stations, important avenues, city squares, and parks for all to enjoy!  These sculptures are also auctioned off for charity.  They are cows for a cause!  Next, the class watched a slideshow of some of the sculptures around the world.  The group worked on putting their own spin on a cow.  They definitely let their creativity flow!

The younger group read their stories, which could be any farm story at all.  As always, they did great, and enjoyed sharing their stories with the class!  The older group learned about prepositions before the break, and they worked on a preposition book involving one of our adventurous goats!  In their booklet, they used different prepositions to express the funny places that the goat could go!  "Ester is on the car."  "Tootsie is under the bed."  "Lily is walking along the fence."  "Blossom got into the feed bag."  Those pesky goats get into everything.... perfect for prepositions!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Merry Christmas!

Today we wrapped up our first semester here on the farm!  We reviewed what the class has learned about work animals.  We talked about animals that pull carts, carry packs, etc.  Guess what?  The story of the first Christmas is the perfect end to our workshop!  We focused on the work animals in the story.  We talked mainly about the donkey that carried Mary to Bethlehem, but we also talked about camels which carried the wise men and their packs.  Throughout the day, we came back to the Christmas story.  Our read-aloud was a version of the story of Mary and Joseph, as told by the donkey.  The kids also learned a song today. The song, the Friendly Beasts was perfect!  It tells of the animals in the stable and the gifts they gave to Baby Jesus.

The class worked with different patterns today.  They created a large ornament, and each section consisted of a different pattern.  Learning to follow steps and listen to directions is a huge part of growing and maturing!  I am very pleased with their progress so far this year!

The younger class talked more about action verbs today.  They did an awesome job with their stories!  We made a big list of all of the actions verbs used in their writing assignments.  The group really improved in their ability to recognize them! 

The older class learned about prepositions today.  They then used prepositions to make a little booklet about one of our trouble-making goats!  Their booklet contained illustrations of the little doe jumping "over" the fence, getting "into" the feed, hiding "under" a car, etc.  Who knew that goats were a perfect way to study prepositions!  They will work on finishing these up and home, and we will share them when we return on January 13th!