IMG_1621My 1st graders just finished reading The Fun Club Goes To The Dairy Farm where we learned about the process cows go through to produce milk.  Did you know only female cows produce milk?  This blew the minds of my 1st graders.

We started by reading our mentor text The Milk Makers by Gail Gibbons.  This went into a more in-depth process of how cows produce milk and the process of what happens to the milk after it’s been milked from a cow.  We also took a virtual dairy farm tour from a dairy farm in Wisconsin.

IMG_1622Students thought it was silly that in the book they talked about wearing booties in the milking parlor as we also read that sled dogs where booties to protect their feet in All About Sled Dogs.  The farm in Wisconsin shared with us that one tank of milk is worth $11,000.00 so keeping the milk clean is important as FDA samples all milk and if any contaminates show up in the milk then it all is dumped.  That’s a lot of money!!  We tried to calculate how many gallons of milk we think would come out of $11,000.00.

As you read with my 2nd graders when they read this book, they made butter when the book was finished.  I wasn’t planning on doing this with 1st graders, but they had brought up wondering how they turned milk into cheese, butter, and ice cream.   So I went ahead and brought in the materials to make butter.  I thought this would be a good opportunity for students to be able to complete a graphic organizer on step-by-step procedures and then being able to write about it.

IMG_1620One of the things I learned the last time I did the butter making was it really does taste more like store bought butter when you add just a dash of salt.  It made all the difference this time around.  Students had to write the procedures on an anchor chart to guide their writing after we had finished making and sampling our butter.

The kiddos were very surprised that you had to shake for about 4-5 minutes before it was ready.  After about 30 seconds they were all convinced their butter was ready.  I let them check their containers and they were bummed when it was still pretty slushy.

We have one last session of the year on Thursday before I have to start DRA testing and we’ll produce our final copies of our step by step process of making butter.  It’s been such a privilege helping these kiddos grow in their learning the last couple of months.