Field Trips by Jen - a HECOA series for Home Educators
For some, farms might be familiar territory. The central region of the United States is crowded with farmland and working famers. For city folk however, farms are a rare sight and we take each one as a special educational opportunity.
Farms are a wonderful source of information and they touch on a variety of educational subjects to study. Farms are a perfect destination for a field trip or research project.
One of the best features of visiting a farm is getting up-close to some farms animals. Children who attended public school are familiar with what Old MacDonald had on his farm and the sounds his animals would make. But seeing and hearing in-person brings a greater understanding of the livestock living throughout the world. Aside from seeing and hearing, at a farm visitors are given the opportunity to interact with the animals and see them interact with each other. Have you ever seen a litter of piglets suckling at their mother sow? It’s quite amazing and adorable! And the process by which farms milk cows nowadays is fascinating. Here is an informational graphic about milk that could be a helpful resource to supplement a trip to a farm. (Source: www.coroflot.com/ltriefeldt/information-graphics)
Exposure to agriculture is a great way to educate children about various valuable skills. When touring a farm, it is common to be briefed on the crops that are grown there. Children are able to gain knowledge of favorable weather for growing food and the difficulty level of maintaining a good crop. There are several scientific activities/experiments a child can do to explore the effects of climate and soil on crops. This site has a series of step-by-step experiments to use.
This can lead to a deeper understanding of seasonal foods and why certain produce isn’t offered year-round. Some farms offer seasonal picking activities, which can be fun for the whole family to enjoy together.
Learning about farm produce is also a good opportunity to discuss health and nutrition with your children. Farms often provide all the basic food groups that make up a healthy balanced diet. There are so many helpful food pyramids offered online, but here is one example:
For further study, children may examine the many different types of farming: Arable farms vs pastoral farms, industrial farming vs sustainable farming, etc. Farms are all very different and they each have unique purposes and goals. It can be interesting to find out why a particular farm operates the way it does.
So who keeps these farms running? During your visit to a farm, it is important to keep in mind what happens behind the scenes. Your tour guide will most likely be a farmer who will know the answers to a lot of your questions. One of the benefits to visiting a farm is learning about the farming occupation. It is enriching to be able to study a lifestyle directly and to talk with someone who is living it. Through interactions like these, we can get a broader perspective of the hard work it takes to be a farmer.
Children and parents alike are able to gain a sense of gratitude for the produce they see in their neighborhood grocery store. You may never look at another watermelon the same way again.
Your field trip to the farm will certainly be a memorable one.
What was your most memorable field trip to a farm? Tell us about in the comments below!
At HECOA, we LOVE field trips! They are a great way to enhance your academic content and they really help kids to get hands-on experiences to extend the learner to much deeper levels. We have articles as well as recorded webinars on field trips, and we have TWO amazing field trips scheduled at the national level for 2016 - one is to Yellowstone National Park in June 2016, and the other is to Washington D.C. in September!
CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR 2016 NATIONAL FIELD TRIP TO WASHINGTON D.C. !