HARRISBURG, Pa. — To help elementary and middle school teachers expose their students to agriculture and dairy farming this school year, the Discover Dairy program offers a multi-level lesson series, classroom enrichment activities, digital resources and more at no cost to educators. Managed by the Dairy Excellence Foundation, there are 11,000 educators from Pennsylvania and beyond currently enrolled in the Discover Dairy program. A total of 346,000 students have been impacted by the program to date. New this year, Discover Dairy has a web portal to make lessons and content easy to navigate for teachers as well as an interactive app to help students engage with the program.
“We have been working to enhance the program with new features and digital content to make the lessons easier for teachers to introduce to students this school year,” said Brittany Snyder, Dairy Education Program Manager at the Dairy Excellence Foundation. “From cross-curricular lessons that are focused on animal health and dairy nutrition to virtual farm tours, video motivators, lab resources and so much more, the Discover Dairy platform is interactive and really brings dairy farming to life for elementary and middle school students.”
The lesson series meets Pennsylvania state education standards and anchors for science, math and reading. The program also incorporates social studies and STEM concepts to show students where milk comes from and how dairy farms contribute to our world. Teachers who sign up for the Discover Dairy program have the opportunity to apply for farm tour field trip grants throughout the school year.
“I like the farm tour field trip grants because they are hands-on, and I think kids need to learn about agriculture and where their milk comes from. The whole hands-on experience is really beneficial to them,” said Chrissy Blycheck, a first-grade teacher in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania who received a grant for a farm tour field trip through Discover Dairy.
The Adopt a Cow program is also managed by the Discover Dairy program. The free program, which has impacted more than 800,000 students worldwide, is a year-long, interactive learning opportunity that gives students an inside look at a dairy farm in the United States. Each classroom that enrolls in the Adopt a Cow program is paired with a calf from a dairy farm. Teachers and students receive photos, video updates, and activity sheets throughout the school year that allow them to watch their calf grow. Teachers must sign up for the Adopt a Cow program by September 15, 2022.
“We’re in a rural area, so I think it’s important for the kids to be able to make common connections. They seem to focus better on a subject if you include animals and agriculture. If I can point out something they’re familiar with, they are so much more interested,” said Angela Eyth, a fourth-grade teacher from Butler, Pennsylvania. “With the Adopt a Cow program, students typically want to go research things about the calf and the farm right away. They ask me every week for new updates about [our calf].”
Resources are also available on the Discover Dairy website for dairy producers who want to get involved with schools in their community. Discover Dairy has a farm tour planning kit with guides, checklists, activity ideas, and frequently asked consumer questions. A Classroom Calf Experience is also available for dairy producers who want to connect with their local schools by providing calf experiences.
Teachers and dairy producers can access the free Discover Dairy resources at www.discoverdairy.com.
To sign up for the Adopt a Cow program by September 15, visit www.discoverdairy.com/adopt. For more information and to learn how you can help share the program with teachers and parents in your community, contact Brittany Snyder at email@example.com or call 717-346-0849.
Discover Dairy is an educational series managed by the Center for Dairy Excellence Foundation of Pennsylvania in partnership with American Dairy Association Northeast, American Dairy Association Indiana, Midwest Dairy, The Dairy Alliance, Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin, Dairy Council of Arizona and Nevada, Dairy West, New England Dairy, Dairy Farmers of Washington, American Dairy Association Mideast, Dairy Council of Florida, United Dairy Industry of Michigan, and Maine Dairy and Nutrition Council.
–Emily Barge, Center for Dairy Excellence