Down on the farm at Smithsburg High School

Elementary school students get chance to learn about animals and agriculture

Elementary school students get chance to learn about animals and agriculture

May 02, 2008|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

SMITHSBURG -- Smithsburg High School had an air of Old MacDonald on Friday.

The school's chapter of Future Farmers of America brought a cow and some pigs, sheep and goats to the school grounds, and invited elementary students to see them.

"When they see the animals, their faces light up," said senior Morgan Smith, the president of Smithsburg's FFA, which is part of a national organization.

The high school students intended Farm Fun Day as a chance for youngsters to pat animals and maybe learn a little about the ways of agriculture.


The older students answered questions (Why does the cow have a tag in his ear?). They set up a simple farm quiz game (What is a baby cow called?).

They had a "Soil Sam" craft station, where youngsters filled pantyhose with dirt and grass seed - which grows through the tiny nylon holes - and decorated the final products.

Senior Kerri Nicley let young students step right up to Rex, a Brown Swiss cow who belongs to her sister, Rachel Martin.

"They're astonished he's 1,500 pounds," said Nicley, the FFA chapter's vice president.

She explained to curious minds that cows come in different breeds; they aren't all white and black, the Holstein image many people know.

She said her own cow, Maverick, had to stay home, guilty of being "temperamental."

Cody Pine, an agriculture teacher at Smithsburg High, said about 270 elementary students were expected to see the mini-farm set-up during the day.

He said young children might have gotten a basic understanding about where milk and food comes from.

Children took turns squeezing mock teats hanging from a wood replica of a cow and drawing liquid.

Agriculture teacher Karen Martin said children got to find out other basics of nature, such as "each plant has a name, a weed is a plant."

FFA senior Katie Frey brought two sheep. She said her grandfather keeps them on a small farm, along with her goats.

She has rabbits at home. Her hog stays with her uncle.

"I pretty much take care of everything," she said.

Pine said organizing Farm Fun Day is a lesson for FFA members, too. "It gives them good experience and leadership skills," he said.

"We just thought it'd be nice for the kids to see what we do," Smith said.

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