Context for this Lesson
Topic: farms and farm animals
Materials needed: letter from Moose (see below)
"Today we are going to use drama to explore a story, but first we are going to get our bodies and minds up and moving and ready to play."
Warm-up: stretching body parts. Scrunch face up small, and then stretch it out like a lion. (You can growl like a lion as you stretch). "What other animal noises can we make? How does a pig sound? A cow? A horse? A goose? A baby chick?"
"Thank you for helping me make those animal noises. You know, just this morning, I met an animal – a moose in fact – on my way to school! And would you believe it, that moose gave me a letter. Take out a folded up letter and read it to the class.
The letter you hold could say something like: “Dear Kindergartners, I need help. I’m an animal that lives in Alaska, but I don’t know the names of the other animals and their babies who live on farms. Can you help me find out their names? There aren’t too many farms around here, or I would find out myself. Yours sincerely, Martha T. Moose
- What does Martha the Moose need us to do?
- How are we going to do that when it's winter time in Alaska? Where could we find this information?
"What if we could go to a farm in the state of Ohio and see if we can find some animals there?"
Have students sit in a circle cross-legged. Set up the traveling machine around students (this is invisible but I always make many sounds setting it up). Have a student open the door for you and explain that before you go on your trip that you need to discuss some important rules: "We want to wear clothes so we can be comfortable and happy on a farm. What do you think we should wear so that we might look like any people we might meet? Have students mime putting on different kinds of clothing. We have to stay together—we can’t leave anyone behind. Can everyone agree to stay together? Good--then let’s go. Teach the machine traveling noise (click, click, click). All students put on seat belts, oxygen masks, push all the buttons... etc. Count down from ten and travel. Everyone begins making the traveling noise! Look out the window as you go. "Wow we are soaring through the sky. Our traveling machine sure moves fast. I think I see the farm right down below." Count down from ten and land. Review rules about staying together. Open door.
- Take students through the fence of farm entrance. Discuss why there might need to be a fence, look around and you see two beautiful horses and their foals. Maybe this is why the farm has a fence so the horses can’t run away.
- Next head over to a large open pen. There are strange grunting sounds and squeals a bunch of pigs are nosing around in the mud. The mother pigs are feeding their baby piglets. Throw the pigs some corn mash which they hungrily eat up.
- There’s a lot of squawking happening from that low white house in the corner. Go closer and you realize that it’s a chicken coop. Mother hens are sitting on nests and eggs. Watch an egg as a baby chick chips its way out of its shell. Throw some seed to the chickens.
- Head over to the big red barn. Open the large wooden doors. Inside are stalls with hay and three black and white cows are calmly chewing their cud over in the corner. Did you know that cows have five stomachs? One of the mother cows needs to be milked. Pull up your stool and squeeze down on the full udders. Fill your bucket full of the warm milk. Stop and pet the baby calf on your way out.
- After all your hard work you are ready for a good farmer’s breakfast. Take some of the eggs and mix them up, along with biscuits, and bacon. After breakfast, it’s back to work.
- Outside behind the red barn is your big tractor. You need to plow up your fields for the planting that you will be doing in the next few weeks. Drive your tractor around making rows on the ground in the earth. Whew! It’s hot in the sun.
- Return to the front porch for a little fresh squeezed lemonade. Look, it’s a gaggle (or group) of geese and their goslings. Look at the littlest gosling trying to catch up. Look at the time, we better head back.
- Leave the farm through the fence, wave to the animals as you go.
- Sit in circle and travel back to Alaska. Repeat flight from beginning and landing. Take off farm clothes and pack them away. Put away the traveling machine.
Describe: What did we do on our trip? What did we see? What animals and their babies do we see?
Analyze: What is fun about living on a farm? What is hard?
Relate: What is fun about living in Alaska? What is hard?
"Let’s write our letter back to Martha T. Moose and tell her the names we remember of the animals and their babies. I’ll be sure to give her out letter when I see her this afternoon. She will be very happy you kindergartners were able to help her out."
Draw a Story
Draw three pictures that tell a story about your trip. Work with an adult to narrate the story or write your own simple captions.