Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Beef Unit Study

I did a search on Google to find some resources to do a mini unit study on beef. Wow! The National Beef Council is serious about getting the word out about beef to young people. I would be listing resources all day if I tried to link to everything I found today. Let me just say that it seems that almost every state has free educational resources online pertaining to the beef industry.  So, I just listed a few items below that I plan on using with my children this school year.

Cow Coloring and Activity Books
Cow Crafts
Cow Website       
More Educational Material about Beef 
 There are a lot of great resources  Iowa Beef Industry Council. I plan on using the power point slide shows there titled "Wow that Cow" and "My Cheeseburger Came from a Farm."

Cattle Videos

How We Used These Resources in Our Homeschool
I hope this will give you a good idea of how we utilize free educational material from the web for unit studies.

Day 1 We used the letter B is for beef page from the ABC's of Oklahoma Agriculture. We discussed the page and then the children colored it. Then we watched the "Wow that Cow" video from the Iowa Beef Industry website. Some of the sentences in the slide are pretty easy so I let the children read some, if they wanted to. Also, I printed out Cattle in Colorado for my 12 year old to read and go through the exercises in his free time.

Day 2 We started on the Learn More About Veal student activity book. I read the first page and showed the children a picture of a Holstein cow, pictured above. My 4 year old colored the coloring page of the book and completed the giant maze, her way. I skipped the decoding page with her. Instead, she created multiple drawings of farmers with their cows. Sometimes the farmers were sad, sometimes the cows were sad. But we all agreed that being happy is the best.

I worked with my 5 year old on the "Break the Code" page of the book. He did a little over half of it before lunch and then finished the rest after. It is very challenging to get him to practice writing his letters. But he didn't mind one bit when writing was part of decoding secret messages.  So, praise God for that. Also, he completed the maze.

Day 3 Smiles (my 5 year old) did the crossword puzzle in More About Veal. It was his first time doing one but he did OK. He read the clues and wrote the answers without complaining. So, I'm pretty much ready to throw out the traditional letter copy sheets at this point and find "nontraditional" ways to get Smiles to write. Gigi (my 4 year old) drew some cows on the back of her activity book. And, all three children did a cow craft.  Junior asked to turn his cow into a puppet. So, I helped him glue a popsicle stick onto it. And he had an instant puppet.

Day 4 I read an ebook about life on a cattle farm that I found on Netlibrary. That's one of a few online libraries that I have access to as a patron of the San Antonio public library. Longhorn cattle are mentioned at the end of the book. So after I finished reading we watched the video above about that particular breed.

Day 5 Today I read some and paraphrased most of Vermont Beef Cattle Come in All Colors. In hindsight, the reading in this book was a bit advanced for my group. But I did my best to make it work.  I also read and we discussed the "My Cheeseburger Came from a Farm" slide show. I skipped some of it, like the parts about ethanol and some of the information about selling the cattle.

I can definitely say that we have learned quite a bit about beef cattle and cattle in general. Most of what we read and discussed today was review. So much so, that the children kept pointing out that we'd already learned this or that. So, tomorrow my oldest will turn in his activity book; and, I will let the other children do the coloring in the Vermont Beef book and that will be the end of that.

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