How Farm Activities Can Help Children’s Academic Learning

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September 7, 2016

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By Miyako Kinoshita, Green Chimneys Farm Education Program Manager

Mathematics is one of the subjects that many children struggle with, and they do not necessarily like. Some studies show that children understand the concept of mathematics when it is directly connected to their daily life and meaningful activities.

For Green Chimneys School students, activities on the farm can incorporate math into animal care activities. Learning that’s hands-on and tangible helps children understand and retain skills. Using tools such as measuring cups, rulers, and scales, can make math concepts real. There is also an element of enjoyment in doing a task for the animals and actually being able to measure and ensure animals are well cared for. 

Below are examples of employing different math concepts and skills and how the farm can help children make it their own. This can be adapted to feeding pets, cooking, or caring for plants at home.

Feeding requires measuring, weighing, cutting, etc…children can learn different measurements, addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.

Example We need a ½ cup of food for each sheep (150g in weight). There are eight sheep in one of the paddocks. How many cups of  food (in cups and weight) do we need?

Example We have three apples with us, and there are 18 horses in the barn today. How can we divide it so that everyone can get an equal amount?

Animal enclosures are often square or rectangle. Children can use a measuring tape to take measurements, and figure out the area.

Example How big is a horse stall? (12x12 = 144 square feet)

Example According to 4-H guidelines, one cow should have 125 square feet of space. Design an enclosure for three cows, and draw your yard design.

Monitoring how much your dog drinks can tell you how healthy it is, especially when it is hot.

Example Create a graph, fill your dog’s water bowl with a certain amount of water. For a week or two, measure the water at the end of each day to see how much the dog drank in one day and document on the graph. At the same time, do some research to see how much a dog should drink a day, and see if he is drinking enough. You can also document the weather and temperature to see if intake of water has any relationship with weather conditions.

Learn more about our nature-based approach to education >

How Farm Activities Can Help Children’s Academic Learning

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