Category: In the Classroom

Kindergarten Students’ Creativity Shines Through Adopt a Cow Program

When Kelley Campbell, a kindergarten teacher in Surprise, Arizona, signed up for Discover Dairy’s Adopt a Cow program, she didn’t expect their calf, Georgie, to bring so much creativity and excitement to her classroom. While her students have some exposure to dairy farms in their community, most have not grown up a farm.

“I didn’t know what to expect when I signed up. I didn’t realize the amount of information, as far as lessons, that would be included. It has been a fun experience,” she shared. “Now that I know what the program provides, I’ll be able to integrate it a lot more in my classroom next year. I definitely plan to do the program again.”

Kelley and her kindergarten students adopted Georgie from Stoltz Dairy, which is located about an hour and a half from their school. Having that local connection excited her students, and one child even suggested creating a “Georgie’s Corner” on their bulletin board. Kelley uses the corner as a space to share photos and information about Georgie’s growth that she received through regular photo and video updates throughout the school year.

“When they walk by, students like to have conversations about how they think she’s doing and how big she’s gotten,” Kelley added.

Throughout the year, Kelley has assigned several art activities, including drawings and coloring sheets centered around Georgie and the different parts of a cow. She also assigned a guided, directed writing assignment to build more connections to agriculture and planned special activities for National Milk Day.

“Another colleague had cow pencils that she gave me, and one morning, I put them out for students with a note from Georgie. They were so excited. Some students still have that pencil [to this day]. It’s really special to them,” Kelley shared. “If I’m excited about it, they get excited about it. A lot of it has to do with the community, and our classroom family, that we’ve built in here.”

One of the most memorable parts of the program was getting able to see Georgie and her host farm family during a live virtual chat hosted by Discover Dairy. Students had the opportunity to watch Georgie through a live video and ask questions about her life on the farm.

“Georgie’s personality has shined through the photos and updates we’ve gotten, but during the live chat, we really saw how much she loved the camera. It was so neat for the kids to see her live.”

The live chat also strengthened students’ understanding of where their milk comes from and the impact the farm is making on their local community.

“We definitely learned information about how the milk in their fridge likely came from that dairy farm. When we heard their farm’s milk goes to a local grocery store, the students really thought that was neat to know they could open their fridge and possibly be drinking milk from that farm.”

Thanks to the memories and lessons learned through this year’s program, Kelley plans to join the Adopt a Cow community again next school year and integrate the program with science and social studies standards for kindergarten.

Discover Dairy’s Adopt a Cow program gives students and families a firsthand look at dairy farming. Over the last two years, it has impacted more than 800,000 students across the globe.

Discover Dairy is an educational series managed by the Center for Dairy Excellence Foundation of Pennsylvania in partnership with American Dairy Association Northeast, American Dairy Association Indiana, Midwest Dairy, The Dairy Alliance, Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin, Dairy Management West, New England Dairy, Dairy Farmers of Washington, American Dairy Association Mideast, Dairy Council of Florida, and United Dairy Industry of Michigan.

Massachusetts Dairy Farmer Opens Her Doors to Classrooms and Community

With more than 800,000 students impacted across the globe, Discover Dairy’s Adopt a Cow program is also making a local impact in South Hampton, Massachusetts. Fletcher Farm, a family-run dairy farm, decided to serve as a host farm for this year’s Adopt a Cow program to continue connecting with families in their community. Not only do they sell farm-fresh dairy products, but they have seasonal offerings such as flowers, fresh produce, and a pumpkin patch.

“My farm is really involved in agritourism. We have a seasonal farm stand, and we have a lot of field trips that come through in the fall. We incorporate dairy and the animals into the field trips,” said Nicole Fletcher. “We were already doing some of that classroom type of promotion, and we thought the Adopt a Cow program would tie in nicely to what we’re about.”

When classrooms sign up for the Adopt a Cow program, they are paired with a calf in the program and receive regular photos, video updates, and activity sheets. This school year, many students in Massachusetts and Rhode Island were paired with a calf from Fletcher Farm and learned how the Fletcher family cares for the calves and helps them grow.

Because the Fletcher family welcomes guests to their farm, throughout the school year, many families have driven anywhere from 20 minutes to three hours just to visit the farm and meet their adopted calf. This has given the Fletcher family an exciting opportunity to enhance the way they are communicating with their community and potential customers.

“We have a lot of local schools participating. During the fall when we were open for pumpkin picking, we had people coming to the farm all the time looking to meet the calves,” Nicole shared. “Never in my wildest dreams would I have expected to be talking about the calves every day. It was a cool thing to see happening.”

Students and teachers have also enjoyed being creative with the Adopt a Cow program and the Fletcher family. Nicole says she has received a high influx of mail filled with Christmas cards, valentines, posters, and coloring sheets that students have mailed to their adopted calves. Teachers in her community are also working to get grants and funding for dairy-specific field trips so they can take their students to tour Fletcher Farm. Nicole hopes to open her doors to as many classrooms as she can.

“My farm is situated in a community where we have a lot of people very close to us. It’s never been a place where we could just shut the doors and ignore the public. That’s kind of why we decided to start a farm stand, do these field trips, and join the Adopt a Cow program,” she shared. “If you don’t share with your neighbors and they don’t know what’s going on at the farm, you don’t have their support. You can’t expect people to want to consume products and appreciate what you’re doing if they don’t understand it and you’re not putting your best foot forward.”

Not only are Nicole and her family caring for the cows on their farm, but they are educating students of all demographics about the commitment dairy farmers have to their animals, land, and community. When students can see a calf, who is well cared for, growing in front of their eyes, all the hard work is worth it.

“We have a bunch of inner-city classrooms in the program. I’ve looked through the emails that have come in through the ‘Contact Your Farmer’ portal, and there are definitely some comments in there asking about how we care for the calves,” she added. “It’s nice when they can see it with their own eyes through the photo updates.”

Discover Dairy’s Adopt a Cow program gives students and families a firsthand look at dairy farming. Over the last two years, it has impacted more than 800,000 students across the globe.

Discover Dairy is an educational series managed by the Center for Dairy Excellence Foundation of Pennsylvania in partnership with American Dairy Association Northeast, American Dairy Association Indiana, Midwest Dairy, The Dairy Alliance, Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin, Dairy Management West, New England Dairy, Dairy Farmers of Washington, American Dairy Association Mideast, Dairy Council of Florida, and United Dairy Industry of Michigan.

Adopt a Cow Program Gives Elementary Students a Firsthand Look at School Nutrition

When Apache Smothers, an elementary school lunch-room manager in Rainbow City, Alabama, heard about Discover Dairy’s Adopt a Cow program, she knew it could help her teach students about school nutrition and build connections with the dairy farms in her community.

“I have been celebrating World School Milk Day for years. I thought adopting a cow would be the perfect addition to World School Milk Day on September 29,” Smothers shared.

After signing up for the program, she was paired with a calf from a dairy farm and receives regular photos, video updates, and activity sheets that she shares with the pre-k through fifth grade students at John S. Jones Elementary School. Not only have students been able to learn about dairy farming and watch their calf grow, Smothers has also worked with the elementary teachers and cafeteria staff to plan fun-filled activities for the school community.

The staff made the initial announcement about their adopted calf on September 29th during World School Milk Day. With fun costumes, cow trivia, and educational activities in the classroom, teachers and staff helped introduce the elementary students to agriculture and dairy farming practices. Once the introduction was made and students’ excitement was at an all-time high, Apache began planning a gender reveal party that involved the entire community.

“We have tons of excitement. We asked the local fire department to help us do the gender reveal, and the mayor was here,” Smothers said. “We all love the program so much that it reflects out into the community. The community is really involved in everything, and they are really great people.”

After the gender reveal celebration, Smothers has continued to send calf updates and dairy-themed lessons to each teacher so the entire school can stay connected to their journey with the adopted calf. Many parents have also expressed their appreciation for the program.


“We have a student who can’t drink milk and is on a pureed diet. Their parents came to the school with a thank-you note and said how the program has been making the child’s day better,” Smothers shared. “Even though he can’t drink milk, seeing the cow has excited him so much. He had never seen a dairy cow before [this program].”

For dairy farmers who participate in the Adopt a Cow program, interacting with students, parents, teachers and cafeteria staff has allowed them to share their story and provide the community with a firsthand look at where their milk comes from.

“My favorite part so far is seeing the one teacher I know who has one of my calves post about the program and share where her students think their milk comes from. I obviously have a lot of work to do because they think it comes from the grocery store,” said Veronica Steer, a dairy farmer from Sunbow Jerseys in Tennessee, who is serving as a host farm during this year’s program.

For Smothers, the Adopt a Cow program is also an exciting way to educate students and families on nutrition in the school cafeteria. After getting involved in the Fuel Up to Play 60 program – a program that helps lead youth wellness programs and empowers students, parents and educators to build healthier communities— Smothers learned about milk intake and the different nutrients in a glass of milk. Her goal with the Adopt a Cow program is to teach her students where their milk comes from and how it benefits their bodies and minds.

“Our kids drink about 6,400 ounces of milk a day. To me, that’s pretty impressive,” she added. “For a child to know where it comes from, that makes them appreciate it and teaches them the importance of drinking milk. I’ve had a lot of support at my school to make this all happen, and we plan on doing many more activities.”

Discover Dairy’s Adopt a Cow program gives students and families a firsthand look at dairy farming. Over the last two years, it has impacted more than 800,000 students across the globe.

Discover Dairy is an educational series managed by the Center for Dairy Excellence Foundation of Pennsylvania in partnership with American Dairy Association Northeast, American Dairy Association Indiana, Midwest Dairy, The Dairy Alliance, Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin, Dairy Management West, New England Dairy, Dairy Farmers of Washington, American Dairy Association Mideast, Dairy Council of Florida, and United Dairy Industry of Michigan.

10 Fun Dairy Activities to Do This Summer

Here are 10 fun dairy activities you can do this summer with your kids, your students, or just by yourself! These activities include recipes, crafts, and even a science experiment. Spread these out throughout the summer when boredom hits or a rainy day has you stuck inside. These dairy activities are sure to get kids of all ages excited! Share any activities you do this summer, and don’t forget to tag Discovery Dairy on social media.


1. Yogurt Popsicles 

What better way to beat the incoming summer heat than with delicious and nutritious strawberry yogurt popsicles. These strawberry yogurt popsicles contain whole milk Greek yogurt, a great source of protein for kids!

This fun and easy recipe has only 5 ingredients. Simply blend all your ingredients together, freeze, and enjoy!

(Source: Yummy Toddler Food)

2. Ice Cream in a Bag 

Making ice cream in a bag is a super simple but fun activity for kids in the summer! This ice cream in a bag recipe has only 5 ingredients and the kids get to shake the bag, and eat a delicious and refreshing treat. What better way to celebrate National Ice Cream Day on July 18th!

Don’t forget to add your favorite toppings, such as fruit or sprinkles!

(Source: The Best Ideas for Kids)

3. Butter in a Jar 

This butter in a jar recipe is perfect for kids to get all their energy out and to get one of their three servings of dairy. The recipe has only one ingredient – fresh, raw cream or heavy whipping cream.

Simply place the butter in a mason jar about 1/3 ways full. Then, simply shake the jar for about half an hour, or until all the cream has separated into butter and buttermilk. Strain the buttermilk out (you can save this to use for pancakes or biscuits) and wash your butter under cold, running water. Knead it together and add salt and you’ve got homemade butter!

(Source: Homestead-Honey)

4. Milk Toast Rainbows 

This simple milk toast activity is perfect for kids of all ages and allows them to play with their food while getting a serving of dairy.

Allow their creativity to run wild! They can paint a rainbow, or whatever their heart desires. Add some butter after toasting for extra dairy!

(Source: 123 Homeschool 4 Me)


5. Milk Carton Planter

Almost out of milk? Don’t throw the carton away — save it and make a planter out of it!

Repurpose milk cartons into super cute planters. Kids will love decorating these planters and learning about gardening and recycling at the same time. Gift them to teachers or grandparents, or enjoy them at home!

(Source: Hands on as We Grow)

6. Milk Jug Watering Can 

Do your kids love to help you water the garden? Here’s how to make an extra watering can, out of only a milk jug. This “mini” watering can is perfect size for watering – no mater how big or small you are!

Simply poke tiny holes in the cap of the jug and one right at the top of the jug for airflow. That’s it! And there you have it, a brand new watering can, perfect for little helpers!

(Source: Make it-Love it)

7. Cow Corner Bookmark 

What better way to mark your page in your book than with this adorable bookmark! Need any summer reading suggestions? We recommend “The Confused Cow” By Jessica Peters. It tells the real story of dairy and is a must read!

This cute bookmark is perfect for a rainy-day craft. Don’t forget to draw your favorite dairy product on the back to make it your own!

(Source: Easy Peasy and Fun)

8. Milk Jug Catch Game 

Create your own outdoor, indoor, or independent game just by using a few milk jugs. Kids will love decorating their milk jug and playing, and parents will love how easy and cheap it is!

When they’re done playing, don’t forget to refuel with chocolate milk!

(Source: Childhood 101)

9. Seashell Cow Craft 

Are you planning on going to the beach this summer? Make sure to bring a few shells home to make this adorable seashell cow!

Display it in your garden, your home, or you could even attach a magnet and display your beach photos on the fridge!

(Source: Two Classy Chics)

Science Experiment 

10. Turn Milk into Plastic 

Here’s a fun science experiment to do: you can create a moldable plastic, just by adding vinegar to milk. This is a fun and interactive experiment for older elementary age kids!

Simply heat up 1 cup of milk for 90 seconds and then add in 4 tablespoons of vinegar and stir for 1 minute. Strain to get rid of the water and you are left with plastic made from milk. You can then use a cookie cutter, or form into a shape and let it cool, to make something out of your plastic! Click here for the full instructions and a free worksheet.

(Source: 123 Homeschool 4 Me)

Middle School Art Students Create Incredible Drawings of Cows and Dairy Farms

When Abby Hennington, a visual arts teacher at a middle school near Atlanta, Georgia, realized she was going to be following a hybrid teaching model this school year, she was looking for creative ways to uplift and motivate her art students, both in person and virtually. Abby teaches middle school students from a wide range of demographics, with several of her students living on working farms while others live in more metropolitan areas and have parents who commute to Atlanta each day.

After hearing about Discover Dairy’s Adopt a Cow program, Abby signed up to ‘adopt’ a calf from a dairy farm. Her classroom was paired with a calf named Fiesta from Big Sandy Creek dairy farm. Throughout the program, she receives photos, video updates, and activity sheets that allow her art students to learn about dairy farming and watch their calf grow.

“I knew this year was going to be challenging in so many ways, and I was looking for fun and uplifting themes to start off our year. I’ve had both in-person students and distance learning students since August of 2020,” Abby shared. “I thought the Adopt a Cow program sounded like a fun way to connect art with other common themes in our area. I was attracted to the idea of using this theme as an ongoing mascot of sorts this school year in my art program.”

Her middle school art program is year-long with limited seats, so students must apply and be accepted. Due to strong interest, there is a wait list for all three grades. With visual arts being such a strong program in her school district, Abby has the time to devote to exposing students to different themes and ideas. Throughout the Adopt a Cow program, this gave her the freedom and flexibility to get extremely creative with the dairy-themed activities she organized for her students.

To start, two of Abby’s students with the help of Booster parents planned an exciting gender reveal activity. Abby also assigned both focused projects and choice projects. Focused projects included timed drawings of their adopted calf to increase skill level and discuss the musculature of the cows. Students also studied landscape and learned about the different areas, equipment, and living quarters of the cows, which eventually turned into multimedia paintings.

For the choice projects, Abby gave students a theme and allowed them to use any supply they wanted to make an art piece on that theme. These projects led to clay cow sculptures, carvings of silos, comic strips of Fiesta, charcoal drawings, and more. As they finish these projects throughout the year, an entire area of their art show is dedicated to the classroom’s partnership with Discover Dairy and their host farm, Big Sandy Creek Dairy Farm.

By introducing her students to some of the scientific parts of agriculture and combining them with different art techniques, Abby has been able to make meaningful STEM connections.

“Our school is STEM-certified through our county and currently working toward STEM certification through our state. I love to connect art to other areas of study and show my students how many career paths can be creative and art-based,” Abby said. “At this age, students still think artists have to be painters who have their artwork in galleries. We talk about how that’s a great goal, but there are many other ways that we celebrate and use art in our daily lives and careers.”

During these STEM connections, students learned about logos, such as the Discover Dairy logo, and how and why they are important. They also learned about the skeletal and muscle system of humans and animals, including their adopted calf. Abby says “connecting art to other disciplines helps to strengthen their education in both subjects and often helps certain standards stick.”

Beyond academics, Abby says the Adopt a Cow program has also allowed her middle school students to connect with dairy farmers in their community.

“This partnership helped us celebrate our rural location and learn more about our community. It was great to include my distance learners as well, and the calf photo and video updates that we received were very easy to share digitally. We have thoroughly enjoyed this program and continue to do so. We will even have a page about it in our yearbook this year,” Abby added.

The students’ Adopt a Cow themed art show.

Discover Dairy’s Adopt a Cow program gives students and families a firsthand look at dairy farming. For the 2020-21 school year, more than 70,000 classrooms and homes have signed up for the program, and it is expected to impact more than 1.5 million students across the nation.

Discover Dairy is an educational series managed by the Center for Dairy Excellence Foundation of Pennsylvania in partnership with American Dairy Association North East, Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin, Midwest Dairy, and The Dairy Alliance.

Learn more about how you can support this program.

Virtual Learning Resources Available to Teachers

With many schools transitioning to virtual learning to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, Discover Dairy is committed to providing free digital resources and curriculum to help educators during this time.

Visit our virtual learning library to access digital lessons and resources to supplement your virtual lesson planning. If you’re looking for a specific lesson or resource, please email Brittany Snyder or call 717-346-0849 and we can help you find virtual educational resources that will work for your classroom.

We encourage you to take advantage of additional instructional resources provided by the National Dairy Council and other sources:


Resources, Infographics and Videos

Teaching Tools

Dairy Basics

Sustainable Nutrition

Dairy Farming

Dairy Nutrition 101

Science Summaries

This page will be updated as more learning resources are made available.

12 Days of Dairy Holiday Activities

As you and your students learn about dairy farming this school year, it’s time to get into the holi-dairy spirit! From crafts and recipes to a heartwarming movie, we encourage you to get creative and make these ideas your own. Want to start with Day Seven? Want to complete three activities in one day? There are no rules – just have fun with it! Don’t forget to tag Discover Dairy on social media to share your cow-themed holiday activities with us.


Day 1: Homemade Hot Chocolate

Homemade hot chocolate is not only festive and delicious, but did you know it includes milk? As your kids are learning about dairy this school year, remind them how many of their favorite holiday food and drinks include dairy products. Even better, when you’re at the grocery store, support your local farms by purchasing local milk that you can use when you’re making these recipes.

This hot chocolate recipe is great for kids and calls for 4 cups of milk in addition to cocoa powder, granulated sugar, and milk. Add some chocolate chips to make it extra sweet! 

Looking for a hot chocolate recipe that’s a little more complex? These hot chocolate bombs are taking over the Internet! Half the fun is making them, and the other half is watching the hot chocolate bomb burst into a mug of hot chocolate once you add hot milk.

Click here to find a recipe

(Source: and Kids Activities Blog)

Day 2: Cow Marshmallows

While these cow marshmallows would be a fun addition for any cow-themed party, we think they would be delicious in a mug of hot chocolate this holiday season! All you have to do is paint cow spots on large marshmallows using melted chocolate for a yummy (and adorable) treat.

(Source: Pinterest)

Day 3: Holiday Whipped Cream

Whipped cream is in high demand every holiday season, and it’s a fun and easy recipe you can make with your kids! Whether you want to add it to your favorite pie or top your hot chocolate, you can make connections to your dairy lessons by explaining how whipped cream’s core ingredient – heavy cream – comes from cows. Try making a salted caramel, chocolate, or orange spice flavor whipped cream and add some holiday sprinkles.

Click here for the recipes.

(Source: Epicuricloud)


Day 4: Pine Cone Cow Ornament

Feeling crafty? This pine cone cow will get you and your kids out in nature and make for an adorable holiday ornament. Add some holiday-colored paint, sequins, or yarn to the finished craft and don’t forget to add a loop so you can hang it from the tree!

Click here for directions.

(Source: Ma and Pa Projects)

Day 5: Cow Hand Print Ornament

If you’re looking for another cow-themed ornament idea, this project is great for younger kids in conjunction with Adopt a Cow and Discover Dairy lessons. Turn your student’s hand print into a cow, and get creative by adding holiday colors and a loop to hang from the branch of your tree. You could even help your students write your adopted calf’s name on the ornament to personalize it!

Click here for directions.

(Source:ABC’s of Literacy)

Day 6: Cow Paper Bag Puppet

This craft is not only colorful and fun, but it can lead to so many creative holiday activities. All you need is a white paper lunch bag, dry sponge, construction paper, paint, googly eyes, and glue to bring this craft to life. Instead of pink paper and a heart-shaped sponge, try adding some holiday colors and tree or star-shaped sponge prints.

Click here for directions.

(Source: Our Kid Things)

Day 7: Cow Bookmark

Have you been enjoying some of the dairy books listed in our Classroom Enrichment section? These cow bookmarks are a fun craft to help your students get excited about reading. They can also make for adorable holiday gifts. Add a colorful holiday ribbon and personalize it with your adopted calf’s name or the name of your students’ favorite book!

Click here for directions.

(Source: Thrifty Fun)

Day 8: Paper Plate Cow

For another easy craft to do with your students, try creating festive paper plate cows. If you want to transform them into holiday ornaments, use smaller sized paper plates and add a loop of yarn. Depending on the breed of your adopted calf, help your students color the spots accordingly.

Click here for an example.

(Source: The Joy of Sharing)

Day 9: Cow Headband

As your students get excited to learn about animals and dairy farming, these cow headbands are a fun and simple craft to incorporate into your lessons. All you need is colored construction paper, scissors, a stapler and glue! To get into the holiday spirit, add some ribbon, sequins, and other festive touches.

Click here for directions.

(Source:Kansas Living)

Day 10: Cow Cup Ornaments

Preschoolers and elementary students are sure to love this cow-themed craft. They can make for cute, cup-sized holiday ornaments too. Don’t forget to personalize it with your adopted calf’s name or test your students’ dairy knowledge by having them write their favorite dairy fact on the cup.

Click here for directions.

(Source: Homeschool Preschool)


Day 11: Annabelle’s Wish Movie

If you’re looking for a holiday movie that will inspire your students and help make connections to dairy farming, Annabelle’s Wish is a heartwarming choice. The animated Christmas tale is about a calf that Santa gives to a boy who can’t speak. The movie is available on Amazon to stream for your kids. After you’re done watching, ask them these questions to foster discussion as a class:

  • What is Annabelle’s wish?
  • Was the wish for her or for someone else?
  • How does Annabelle’s wish symbolize the holiday spirit?

Day 12: Holiday-Themed Photo

To end our “12 Days of Dairy Holiday Activities,” take a holiday-themed photo of your class or students to share with your adopted calf and farm.

Share the photo with us on social media by tagging Discover Dairy, or email it to us at We can’t wait to see how you are getting into the holiday spirit this year!

Arizona Preschool Creates Fun Twist on Election Through Adopt a Cow Program

In Phoenix, Arizona, one preschool classroom is using Discover Dairy’s “Adopt a Cow” program to introduce real-world concepts to their students. After a parent told Summit School teacher Fredie Boudrie about the Adopt a Cow program, they signed up to be paired with a calf from a dairy farm. The class will receive photos, video updates, and activity sheets throughout the school year that allow them to watch their calf grow—with the first update set to arrive in mid-November with their calf’s name and photo.

As the preschoolers eagerly awaited news about their adopted calf, the Presidential election was in full swing. Boudrie decided the Adopt a Cow program and Discover Dairy unit could help create exciting connections with the election process for her young students.

“We didn’t know if our calf would be a Jersey or a Holstein breed. I thought it would be really fun, during the week of the Presidential election, to have students vote for which type of cow they think we’re going to adopt,” said Boudrie, a preschool teacher at the Summit School.

To give students an authentic voting experience, she created partition boards and an imaginary voting center. Students received their own voter identification cards, and only one person could be in the booth at a time. After seeing a picture of each breed of cow, they cast their votes and the results were divided: half of the students voted for a Jersey cow and the other half voted for a Holstein.

“Students don’t usually have a strong connection to the President. They know their parents vote, but adding the cow theme to the election activity this year was much more meaningful,” Boudrie added. “We had a good time with it. Presidents are just names to them, but the kids can get on board with cows because they have seen them when we’ve taken field trips to farms.”

In addition to the connections she made with the election, Boudrie was able to infuse different subjects and lessons into the Discover Dairy unit, including math and reading. The class held a group discussion to define the term ‘adopt,’ read books about cows, and created graphs with results from their votes.

After learning in a virtual environment last spring, her students’ experience with platforms like Zoom also made it easier for Boudrie to introduce the Adopt a Cow program to such a young age group.

“Last spring, when we taught remotely from home, they learned all about Zoom sessions and the Internet. Prior to that, I don’t think they would have understood how we were going to ‘adopt’ a cow they would never actually touch or see in person. But as we explained it to them, we were able to connect it to Zoom and virtual learning,” Boudrie said.

With several students continuing to learn remotely, while others are back in the classroom, the Adopt a Cow program has been an intriguing way for her students to stay connected during unconventional and ever-changing times.

“This program is definitely a blessing. It gives students something to look forward to,” Boudrie shared. “We have been back in person, but there are some kids who are still doing online learning. The Adopt a Cow program has been a good way to connect all of us, whether we’re at home or in the classroom. Kids love animals, so it has been a great way for them to engage and learn new facts.”

Discover Dairy’s Adopt a Cow program gives students and families a firsthand look at dairy farming. For the 2020-21 school year, more than 70,000 classrooms and homes have signed up for the program, and it is expected to impact more than 1.5 million students across the nation.

Discover Dairy is an educational series managed by the Center for Dairy Excellence Foundation of Pennsylvania in partnership with American Dairy Association North East, Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin, Midwest Dairy, and The Dairy Alliance.

Learn more about how you can support this program.

Second-Graders Connect with Dairy Farming Through Adopt a Cow Program

Second graders at Jackson Elementary in Eastern Lebanon County School District are getting an inside look at dairy farming this school year through Discover Dairy’s “Adopt a Cow” program. With agriculture being such a big part of the community in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, Becky Kleinfelter decided to sign up for the year-long interactive learning series.

“We live in a farming community, so it’s important for students to learn about agriculture,” she said. “We also have an agricultural week where high school students come down and teach us about agriculture, so I thought [the Adopt a Cow program] would give us a jumpstart on learning some of those things.”

When the program launched this fall, the second-graders received a photo and certificate for Patty, the calf their classroom ‘adopted’ from a dairy farm. Throughout the year, they have received updates on Patty’s growth through videos, photos and activity sheets. Kleinfelter has also been able to incorporate hands-on learning activities and curriculum provided by Discover Dairy to give her students a deeper understanding of the dairy industry and food production.

“They have to know food doesn’t get produced out of midair. It takes a lot of work from the farmer to produce good quality, healthy food,” she said.

For students who enjoy being around animals, Kleinfelter says the Adopt a Cow program has opened their eyes to future careers in the agriculture industry. She also credits the comprehensive lesson plans and vocabulary lists for helping her lead engaging, in-depth discussions with her students.

“I grew up in this area, but I’ve never lived on a farm so I don’t know a lot of the vocabulary,” Kleinfelter said. “It has been really nice having the lesson plans laid out and focused on vocabulary, so I can be sure I’m teaching students the correct terms to use when they’re speaking about farms and different animals.”

This spring, the second-graders will expand on what they’ve learned in the classroom by participating in live video chats. They’ll get to virtually meet Patty and talk directly with the farmer who cares for her each day.

“The kids have actually come up with some really good questions that I can’t always answer. It will be nice to give them the chance to ask the farmer themselves,” Kleinfelter added.

Last year, through a partnership with Undeniably Dairy, more than 25,000 elementary and middle school students from across the United States, Mexico and Canada participated in the Adopt a Cow program. Enrollment for the 2020-21 school year will open in August.

Discover Dairy is an educational series managed by the Center for Dairy Excellence Foundation of Pennsylvania. Learn more about the Adopt a Cow program.

Middle School Students Discover the Impact Dairy Makes on Their Community

With consumers becoming more interested in shopping locally, Mary Myers, a middle school teacher from Keystone SMILES Crossroads CLC, wanted her students to understand the role agriculture, and dairy farming, play in this consumer trend.

“I wanted to include a unit on Pennsylvania agriculture in my junior-high social studies class, and I decided dairy would be the best choice. There are dairy farms in the area that provide jobs to the community, and many of my students will be looking for work right after high school,” Mary said.

As she searched for lessons that could help her bring dairy farming into the classroom, she found the Discover Dairy lesson series—an interactive, cross-curricular, multi-level program managed by the Center for Dairy Excellence Foundation of Pennsylvania.

Designed for elementary and middle school students, the Discover Dairy program immediately interested her class. While many of her students grew up in areas surrounding dairy farms, Mary found they knew very little about the industry at the start of the unit. This opened the door for meaningful lessons and important conversations, specifically surrounding the environment and the local community.

“As soon as we finished the first lesson in the program, I could see the students were really responding to the information and activities,” Mary shared. “One of the lessons they most enjoyed was ‘In the Environment.’ Knowing farmers respect and want to preserve the environment was important to them.  They also enjoyed the ‘In the Community’ lesson. This lesson was truly an eye-opener for students when they realized how important it is to shop locally and support jobs in their hometowns.”

Along with making personal connections, the Discover Dairy lesson series gave students the chance to apply scientific concepts to real-life scenarios on the farm. Through interactive labs that complemented each lesson and reinforced specific concepts, students also benefited from hands-on learning opportunities.

“My favorite thing about the Discover Dairy lessons are the complimentary labs,” Mary said. “I use a lot of hands-on learning, and the labs lend themselves to my style of teaching. They were extremely useful for engaging students.”

During the culminating project for the Discover Dairy unit, Mary divided her students into groups and asked them to create a Pennsylvania dairy advertising campaign. After choosing a dairy product to promote on television, radio, print or social media, the students were able to get creative and develop scripts, backgrounds, photos and other content to showcase their dairy products.

“In the end, students created a billboard for yogurt, a TV commercial for ice cream, and a print ad for a dairy-based energy drink,” Mary explained. “The campaigns all advertised Pennsylvania dairy as the main ingredient for their product. I was extremely pleased with the outcome of the project.”

In addition to social studies, Mary has incorporated the Discover Dairy lessons into her English classes, pairing learning objectives and projects throughout the unit. For Mary’s students, what began as an initial interest in dairy blossomed into a deeper understanding of Pennsylvania agriculture and their role as consumers.

To learn more about the Discover Dairy lesson series and the free curriculum available to teachers, visit our website or call (717) 346-0849.