IMG_9246After Christmas break we looked at student data and switched around our groups to serve the kids who most need our help currently.  I now am the proud teacher of two 2nd grade groups instead of just 1.  My 1st group of 2nd graders recently read The Fun Club Goes To The Dairy Farm by Jane Shaffer.  We’ve read other Fun Club books and the kids always seem to really enjoy them.

IMG_9247In this story the kids learn about what goes on at a dairy farm.  We did some vocabulary work at the beginning and watched a couple of short clips of cows chewing their cud and a milking parlor as the kids had a lot of questions during the book orientation.

We learned that cheese, butter, and ice cream all come from milk.  I have a couple of English Language Learners in my group and they were curious how these products came for milk.  All of the kids had ideas, but none of them were quite on the right track.  I thought this would be a fun opportunity to bring in some hands-on learning.  I told them the next group session we would be making our own butter.

IMG_9245We talked about how milk separates with milk and cream and that’s how we get different types of milk–skim, 1%, 2%, and whole.  The cream that isn’t used for milk is put aside and used to make these other dairy products.  We watched a couple of short clips about milk separation and then we got to work on making our own butter.

If you are doing any kind of work with farms this is a super EASY way to bring in some fun and exciting learning.  I brought in the smallest tupperware containers I had and then poured in about 1/8th of a cup of heavy cream into the containers.  I sealed each container and gave one to each student.  Together we all shook, shook, shook until we couldn’t hear the liquid swishing around anymore (about 5 minutes or so).  We had a student come in late so I gave him mine and poured up a new container.  The kids were really excited when they hear the very obvious swishing in my container and theirs wasn’t swishing anymore.

IMG_9249From there the kids were given a plastic spoon, napkin, and slice of bread.  They were able to sample their butter.  We talked about how you could eat the butter plain or you could add a little salt to make it taste a little more like butter you buy in the store.  When the question came up about how it went from liquid to solid we talked about how we shook the fat particles to the point where they started to clump together and expand.  I put the left over butter in the fridge and they’ll be able to take their butter home with them at the end of the day with the promise they will explain to their parents how to make butter and why it gets thick.

When we meet again we’ll be writing about the milking process and how you can take the fat from the milk and turn it into butter.