How Tall IS That Cow?

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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

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