Sunday, June 12, 2016

Virtual farm visit with Skype

Virtual field trips are a great way to bring the world into the classroom. Students can experience places and cultures that they otherwise would never have the opportunity to see. Kindergarten teachers at Kermit E. Booker Elementary School were finishing up a unit on farm animals. Students had learned about some of the large farm animals, such as cows and pigs, and a about crops. Knowing that many of the students might never venture outside of the city and have the opportunity to see a farm in person, they asked about arranging a virtual trip to a farm.

The awesome folks at the Polk County Farm Bureau in Iowa do just that type of thing through their Ag in the Classroom program! I got in contact with Gretchen Voga, the Education Specialist, and we made arrangements to connect with a large crop farm and a smaller chicken farm via Skype.

Three kindergarten classes gathered in one room and after some initial technical difficulties we were able to connect with the farm. The first thing the students heard was the mooing of the cows, which got them really excited!

Our host showed us a few cows, the fields where they planted corn, and a few of the farm buildings. We then switched to a smaller chicken farm. We were able to see chickens in the yard and learned that they are very noisy!

This host took us into the chicken coop where we were able to see how they are fed and watered. We learned that they have enclosed shelters where they sit and lay eggs. These shelters are shown on the computer screen below. We saw lots and lots of chickens and a few eggs as well!

After getting our tour a few students were able to ask a few questions. Before long our day day was almost over and we had to end our virtual tour. The students loved seeing the farms and animals. This was a great experience.

A special thanks goes out to the Gretchen Voga and the owners of the farms. I know it couldn't have been easy to get the necessary equipment out into the fields. This was one of those special experiences that makes learning fun for the students!

I found this virtual farm experience through a simple Google search, but you can find many virtual field trip experiences by going to the Skype in the Classroom website.

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