Teaching Youth about Dairy Cattle: ADS 4221-Capstone in Animal and Dairy Sciences

Note:  This blog post was written by a group of students in the Capstone in Animal and Dairy Sciences course, who were assigned to work with youth in a neighboring county to teach them about dairy cattle.

This semester we became known as “The Dairy Group”. Our job was to create a
presentation aimed at teaching Junior 4-H kids about the dairy industry. Our first step was to have a group meeting to discuss which areas we wanted to highlight to the students. We wrote out different activity ideas and decided on the ones we liked best. We had hands-on activities to explain the topics of dairy products, feeds, the milking process, and identification. We split the group up in order for each member to more specifically focus on a section of the project. This allowed for a more developed presentation.
On March 8th, we met 15 students at the Clay County Extension Office and spent half an
hour teaching them about our semester’s work. They all had a fantastic time learning to milk a cow and seeing that chocolate milk does not come from a brown cow. They were able to learn about the weight of a gallon of milk and the importance of a variety of feedstuffs. Since there were so many students, we were not able to have one on one time, however the multitude of parents helped to keep the kids focused and attentive. At the end of the night, we were showered with questions from both students and adults alike. Each child went home with a simulated ration made out of different types of candy. Overall, the majority of the group was very attentive and responsible for their sections of the presentation. We enjoyed the project and learning how to interact with students on their level while still teaching them something new. The experience as a whole was interesting and positive.

MSU Extension Intern- Logan H.

Week 6 – Dairy Camp & NASA Camp

On Monday this week, I worked with Ms. Jennifer Williams at the old bull barn for the dairy camp the local 4-H agents held. There were speakers who explained to the children what it was like to be a dairy farmer and details of the day-to-day schedules they have. After the speakers were done, the 4-H agents traveled back over to the beef unit and dairy unit behind the vet school. When everyone left, Jennifer and I drove from the bull barn to the vet school. She, I, and Kimberly, another agent, came to the ADS Department where I am doing my internship, to have a lab professor teach us how to make Dippin’Dots. To those who have never heard of Dippin’Dots, they are basically little balls of ice cream. So we were surprised when the lab professor told us the way Dippin’Dots were made. I always thought there was a machine that just took ice cream and punched it into little balls and then they would remain frozen. Well as it turned out, Dippin’Dots are made by mixing half-and-half with heavy whipping cream and sweetened condensed milk. After you have mixed these three ingredients you add your flavoring- we added vanilla extract. Lastly, you put in whatever food coloring you would like, and then shake the mixture, but not too hard, as the whipping cream will actually thicken up like butter. After all these steps have been completed, you make a hole in the lid of a water bottle or use a small tubing to make droplets, that will make balls, when the mixture hits liquid nitrogen. I could not believe of all things, that to make this treat, that liquid nitrogen was used. Three hours were spent making this treat, so we would have enough for all the kids. Jennifer and I had to go to the chemistry lab on campus to retrieve dry ice to be able to transport the Dippin’ Dots from the vet school to the old bull barn. Jennifer and I were able to watch how dry ice is made into a block to transport food and other items, it was quite interesting. I must say, I was a little nervous when the dry ice was being made because the gas can cause you to faint because it consumes the oxygen in a small area. The lab technician told us to be careful transporting the dry ice in the cooler by vehicle because if the cooler leaks and the windows are up, you will faint. After all this was done, we took the sweet treat to the old bull barn where we originally met, and served the kids. The dessert was a big success and we even had enough for the parents and agents. I helped clean up after dinner and dessert. As soon as the dessert was over, there were fun activities outside for the children. I stayed inside for the most part to help clean everything up.

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On Thursday, I went to Eupora for the NASA camp that was held for the 4-H kids. Jennifer and I had four boys for the camp. We did many different science experiments, including, making different mixtures for bubbles, forming crystals, an activity to determine whether the boys were right brain or left brain, and many more. The kids really seemed to enjoy the activities and were extremely enthusiastic. It was fun to get a taste for teaching when I taught the bubble lesson to the kids and helped them with the three different mixtures.

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Throughout this week I feel I have experienced improvement in my creative thinking skills by coming up with ideas and solutions to help with new tasks that I had to complete in working at the Dairy Camp and the NASA Camp. When things did not work with a science experiment that I was helping the kids with, I had to think of another way to help them. For example, the kids did an egg drop experiment, but the eggs were cold so the tape would not stick to the egg to attach to their parachute. Jennifer and I came up with another idea to make the egg drop work. When I was helping to make the Dippin’Dots for the dairy camp and working with liquid nitrogen, the other agents and I had to come up with a way to transport the ice cream treat and come up with a system to be able to handle the liquid nitrogen. Also, by helping to put on the science camp, I was able to be a productive, civic-minded person by working in a civic context, teaching children different aspects of science. The science camp benefitted the kids by educating them further in science and also broadening their view in the subject. Working at these two camps also helped me to make connections between things I have learned throughout my college career and skills I have acquired. I was able to put both these areas of knowledge to use this week.

Overall, this week was beneficial and entertaining.