Let Students help Design a Dairy Farm Bulletin Board

You’ll gain a new respect for milk, cheese and ice cream as you design one of these bulletin boards.  Some reading and research are required, but your students will have fun tracking down some illustrations to post on the board.  Once it’s complete, snap a class photo beside the board and celebrate your success with an ice cream cone party!

Bulletin board #1 – Facts about dairy farms

Families who run dairy farms dedicate their lives to one simple goal: providing fresh milk and milk products to America.  These families get up before dawn and work until sunset or later caring for their herd.  According to one website, they are “committed to preserve the land where they live and work, protect the air and water they share with neighbors, and provide the best care for their cows.”  Be sure to look for the clock that features what it takes to care for dairy cows around the clock.

A border with cows or barns would look great on this board.  In the center, attach an outline map of the United States.  Even though all 50 states produce milk, the top ten states for milk production in 2011 were California, Wisconsin, Idaho, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas,    Minnesota, Michigan, New Mexico and Washington.  Have students feature these states on the board: Locate photos of dairy barns and cows to put inside each of the top ten dairy production states – or make your own illustrations.

Next, divide students into groups to do some research, such as how much time is involved each day on the dairy farm, what is necessary in caring for dairy cows or the details of how a milking machine operates.  Another idea: Look up families that live on dairy farms and learn their stories.  See if you can find one in each of the ten states.  Write a brief report on it to present to the class or list interesting bits of trivia on index cards and scatter them around the map.  

Bulletin board #2 – Dairy farm products

Around the edge of this board are illustrations of dairy products – cheese, ice cream, butter, milk, etc.  In the middle of this board, feature a Holstein dairy cow.  Next, scatter colorful pictures of dairy farms and information about dairy products around the cow.  Have students do research for answers to the following questions: How much milk can a dairy cow produce in one day?  What are dairy cows fed to keep them healthy and productive?  What are the names of the different dairy cow breeds?    Which is considered the best breed for producing dairy products?  

Other things to focus on – how and why the cream is separated from the milk and what kind of products are made from the cream.  Just for fun, take a poll to find out which flavors of ice cream are most popular among your students.  What are their favorite types of cheese?  Have someone make a chart or list with the results and post it on the board.

The dairy industry is important to our welfare as a nation.  In some countries, milk is not readily available and/or cannot be sterilized or refrigerated for safe keeping.  The bulletin board ideas above help students understand the importance of dairy farms, sanitary conditions and the blessing of having milk products readily available.  Next time your students reach into the fridge for a glass of milk or some ice cream, they’ll appreciate it in a brand new way.