Going to the Farm
- Grades: PreK–K, 1–2
- Unit Plan:
To culminate the unit on farms, plan and visit a local farm or farmer's market. This will give the students a chance to use what they have learned as well as build new knowledge.
- List five things they know about farms.
- Interview a farmer.
- Use their farm knowledge to complete a scavenger hunt.
- Chart paper
- Camera, film
- Farm Scavenger Hunt (PDF)
Set Up and Prepare
- On the chart paper make three columns. At the top of the columns write "What We Know," "What We Want to Know," and "What We Learned" (KWL chart).
- Contact a local farm, arrange a field trip, and send home permission slips according to your school's policy. Arrange for parent volunteers to assist on the trip.
- Make copies of the Farm Scavenger Hunt (PDF) for the students and set them up on clipboards before the field trip.
- At the farm, you will be taking pictures. Have the film developed before the fifth day's lesson.
Since you have been discussing farms for the last two weeks, tell the students that today is their big opportunity to tell you what they know about farms. Allow them a brainstorming session at the rug to list things that they learned about farms.
Send the students to their tables to write a list of five things that they learned about farms.
When the students have finished, have them come to the rug and consolidate their lists of things that they learned into one list. Write this list in the "What We Know" column of the KWL chart.
Tell the students that they will be going to a farm and they will have an opportunity to talk to a farmer. What kinds of things would they like to know? What would they like to ask a farmer? Kindergarten students usually have a hard time understanding how to ask a question. I tell my students that a question "waits for an answer." Then, as they volunteer ‘questions,' we talk about whether or not their response was actually a question. We test it by asking, ‘does that need an answer or is it OK by itself?' This is a very abstract concept for them and something that will come with practice. You might also want to give them ‘question words,' like ‘what,' ‘when,' etc.
Model writing some questions on some chart paper to remind them about question marks, spacing, etc.
Send the students to their tables to write a list of three questions. You might want to give them time to check their work with a partner to make sure that what they wrote are really questions.
As they finish, they can return to the rug so they can share their questions. Again, consolidate their list of questions in the "What We Want to Know" column of the KWL chart.
Day III - Field Trip!!
Here are some tips that might help to make a field trip as safe and stress-free as possible.
- Make small groups of students ahead of time according to behavior. Assign one parent to each group.
- Write your school's name and phone number on a label each student can wear on their coat. Make sure the students' names are not on the labels, as this is a safety hazard.
- Have an info sheet for each parent with your cell phone number (I bring a school cell phone, so I do not have to give out my personal number), the names of the students in their groups, and directions, such as where and when to meet at the end of the trip. You might want to include information about lunch (where and when) and gift shop (I have a strict No Gift Shop rule!).
- Visit the restroom before leaving the school. Check to see if everyone has lunches. I have the students carry their lunches in their backpacks.
- Carry a few first aid supplies, such as wet-wipes, Band-Aids, etc.
After everyone has used the restroom and is ready to go, explain to the group that at the farm they will be doing a scavenger hunt. They will need to look for things on the farm according to clues on the sheet. When they have found the answer, they need to draw or write the answer on the sheet. For this, everyone will need a clipboard with the paper attached and a pencil.
Have everyone bundle up and do a backpack check. Everyone should have a lunch and clipboard with paper and pencil in their backpack. If there are other things in their backpack, I have them leave it in their cubby so they do not have the extra weight.
Get on the buses and go! Have fun! Try to get lots of pictures. Try to get one picture of each student.
Talk about the trip. Have the students write something they learned from the trip and add it to the last column of the KWL chart.
Tell the student that today they are going to make a class scrapbook of their trip to the farm. You will be giving them pictures of themselves at the farm to use as a writing prompt. Have them focus on audience as they are writing, since people who will be reading their scrapbook didn't necessarily go on the trip.
Pass out the pictures, send students to their tables, and have them write about their picture. If you want, you can give them construction paper, markers, and glue for them to arrange a scrapbook page, or you can assemble it later.
The students will be especially excited about this project. They will definitely need time at the end to see each other's work! And pictures!
Supporting All Learners
As I write this lesson I think about my disorganized students. I can picture my special few who are sure to lose their pencils, papers, and clipboards on the field trip. For these students, I would attach the pencil to the clipboard with a string and tape the paper onto the clipboard (sometimes that clip just isn't enough). Then I might add a little incentive for returning all three things (like a sticker). I was always very vague about the incentive by telling the students they would receive a "special prize" if... You might have a group that does not need this encouragement of organization, or you might have a group where everyone needs it.
The students could share their scrapbook with another class, or create a ‘Farm Gallery' by hanging the pages before assembling the book.
Farm Dreams: Before going on the trip, imagine what kinds of objects, people, and animals they will see on the farm. Represent this in writing or pictures. When they return from the trip talk about what from their "Farm Dream" came true.
- The students will write a list of what they know.
- The students will write questions.
- The students will go to a farm and complete a scavenger hunt.
- The students will write about their experience.
- Were the students able to remember what they learned in the previous lessons? Are they retaining the information?
- Were the students able to tell the difference between a question and a statement?
- Was the field trip organized and informational?
- Are students remembering the information that they learned from the last two weeks?
- Are students able to write a list of questions?
- Were students able to use what they have learned to do the Farm Scavenger Hunt?