Category: In the Classroom

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:

Webinars

 

Resources, Infographics and Videos

 

Dairy Basics

Sustainable Nutrition

Dairy Farming

Dairy Nutrition 101

Teaching Tools

Science Summaries

 


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

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.

Dairy Farm Field Trips Lead to New Memories and Experiences

How can we help students understand the world of dairy farming? By taking them to visit a farm!

After receiving dairy farm field trip grants through the Center for Dairy Excellence Foundation, several classrooms that are enrolled in the Discover Dairy program had the opportunity to visit local dairy farms this spring. During the farm tours, students learned how farmers care for their cows, conserve their natural resources, and produce dairy products that are full of nutrition.

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“Adopt a Cow” Program Gives Students an Inside Look at Dairy Farming

As part of Discover Dairy’s 2019 “Adopt a Cow” program, students throughout Pennsylvania and beyond had the opportunity to gain a firsthand look inside a dairy farm. Through a partnership with the Midwest Dairy Association, more than 80 classrooms registered to participate in the program and “adopted” a cow from a dairy farm in Pennsylvania, Illinois or Minnesota.

With live video chats, photos, activity sheets, certificates, and other learning activities, the program gave students a deeper understanding of the dairy industry as they watched their cows grow throughout the school year.

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Bringing the Cow into the Classroom

Last summer, Christine Blycheck, a fourth grade teacher at Christ the Divine Teacher School outside of Pittsburgh, Pa., attended an Ag in the Classroom training series. There, she met a fellow teacher who gave her a great tip: “check-out the Discover Dairy program.” That tip led her to a dairy calf in her classroom, a dairy farm field trip and a group of students excited to learn.

“I looked through the information on Discover Dairy, and I knew right away that it would be a perfect fit for my classroom,” says Chrissy. “We are teaching in a classical education style, which is all about discovery and discussion. The Discover Dairy series fits that model. It teaches children about why agriculture is important in their lives, and it facilitates open and lively discussions.”

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