Aug 28

How Tall IS That Cow?

We share our beautiful farm with hundreds of children each season.  There are countless learning moments that happen because of authentic curiosity as we discover things using hands-on learning.  One moment that I had at a recent Little Red Hen event last month exemplified our process.

As we were interacting with the various animals, we stopped to visit Molly and Ginny our bovine ladies.  There are several facts that we share when there is a quiet moment and then… we pause… and LISTEN to the child.  Given this time, a young man piped up as he gazed at their gentle massive forms and asked, “How tall IS that cow?”

The possibilities that abound when a child asks this question are almost endless:

  • Estimation
  • Using non-standard measurement
  • Comparing two objects-I am 5 ft.  Is the cow taller than me or shorter than me?
  • Greater than and less than
  • Measurement of a horse in hands
  • Counting
  • Are different breeds of cows bigger or smaller?
  • Does their food effect their growth?
  • Are they full grown at 18 months?
  • THEN we can look at that cow in comparison to the other animals and objects on the farm.  You can begin to look at the entire farm as a math and measurement lesson!

But this is what goes on in MY head.  During some new upcoming programming like our Discovery Class, we’ll be able to follow up on more of these child-led discoveries. 

For this four year old we stick to a comparison and non-standard measurement.  He remains quiet after our conversation gazing up again at Molly and Ginny.  I wait and watch and know that he is making a friend and later when he learns about measurement in a classroom setting he will have a concrete example to think back upon and maybe even come back to see our cows again one day and check their growth.

lookingatcow     danelleandcow 

Danelle, one of our educators, helping us get close so we can measure.

-Meredith Florkey

Education Director at Learning Tree Farm

Apr 3


Farming and Education both rely on faith. We must trust the process. We trust that when we plant a seed in the spring it will grow and allow us a good harvest. We trust that by giving children our undivided attention, plenty of time and materials they will learn. Farmers and teachers have to be optimists.

Learning Tree Farm was founded on faith. Faith by a few educators that if children were given wide open spaces, access to nature and animals and people they could count on, those children would grow, learn, and become confident individuals. Forty-two years later those visitors come back and share their stories with us. The memories and lessons learned have stayed with these members of our community and are being passed down to a new generation.

Learning Tree Farm has faith in its new crop this year. Sunflowers will grace our center field as a backdrop to all that goes on in late spring and summer. Sunflowers are more pollinator friendly and less fertilizer intense than the traditional crops of soybeans and corn. It is our hope that in addition to enjoying their beauty, we will be supporters of all of the pollinators that ensure the success of our garden and orchard each year.

Success is not achieved by faith alone though. Hard work and preparation are what allow farmers and educators to be sure that the crops will grow and the children will thrive. The staff at Learning Tree Farm has worked hard to provide several opportunities for our friends to show their support this spring. Our ongoing 2015 Sunflower Campaign will allow patrons to purchase sunflower kits, plant them at home and measure their growth as compared to our own sunflower field via social media.  This capital campaign will support our efforts to refurbish the back patio of the Century House.

Check out all that Learning Tree Farm has to offer this spring! We have faith that you’ll love what you find!

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