Farm visit with 1st graders from Gaithersburg Elementary School!

May 17th, 2012

Before heading out to the fields, Kara led the group in a bit of yoga.  This eases up the muscles so you don’t get stiff. Then we did a field walk using the five senses (what was seen, what we smelled, what we heard, what was tasted as well as what was felt). We called this an observation walk.


As we started the walk through the fields, Kara asked that I pick some chives for the students to try. Some liked the chives, some didn’t. Kara then talked about some of the foods that the students might eat that have chives mixed into them (salsa, being an example). They also tried some mint from the pick your own. I picked some Lamb’s Ear branches, when the students felt it, I heard a lot of them commenting about how soft it was. Something I didn’t know was that Lamb’s Ear could be used like a band-aid.


When the students tried the mustard greens, it was the same case as the chives. All students tried them, though some liked them more than others. I heard some children commenting on how “spicy” they thought it was.

The next stop on the field walk was to see the chickens. We then talked about which chickens lay which eggs (as she showed them each egg, she said, (with the black hen–the Americana–they lay the bluish-greenish colored egg; the brown hen (Wellsummer) lays the dark brown eggs and the white (or Delaware) hen lays the light brown egg. The students were interested in knowing that not all chickens lay “white” eggs (or white chickens (hens) don’t lay white eggs). In terms of the yolk in these eggs, it’s more orange than yellow in color as well as being “fresher” eggs than the ones that people can purchase at the grocery store.


After seeing the chickens, the students drew pictures of what they observed during their walk through the fields. Just looking at the pictures that the students drew, I can tell a lot of them liked seeing the chickens most because that is what most of them drew.


Another thing the children observed growing were the potatoes. There are four types of potatoes growing, Red Norlans, Purple Viking, Yukon Gold, Magic Molly. Kara pulled up a plant just to show them where the leaves of the plant were growing out of the potato. Also talked about, was how the potatoes were harvested.


As the walk continued, the students noticed the solar house so Kara talked a bit about how it ended up at the farm and that it was part of the Solar Decathlon on the National Mall in 2005 built by the University of Maryland.


Then the students came back to the barn and Kara read them a story titled “And Then It’s Spring” about a boy and his dog who decide “they have had enough of that brown and want to plant a garden”. This story also talks about the steps needed to take in order to plant a garden as well as what a plant needs to grow (caring for it, sunlight and water).


Then we read a poem about planting a seed which needs water and sunlight to grow.

Then we helped the students plant a bean seed. First step, fill the newspaper pot with dirt, then put the bean seed in and push down (about a fingertip) into the dirt. Next the seed was watered. The pots were then collected by their teacher to put on a window sill in the classroom or to have the children take the plant home to plant it.

After the bean planting, another story was read, which was “Jack and the Beanstalk”. About halfway through the story, a bean is planted that eventually grows into a giant beanstalk. We read this story because the students planted a bean seed themselves. Like the bean in the story, the beans the kids planted were also sort of magical because they are purple beans that turn green when cooked!


One of the last activities we did with the children was having them match the food to the food group on the plate. Before the students placed the food into the correct food group on the plate, the student said what the food was, as well as what food group it belonged to.

Then the students matched the word (from the My Plate–fruit, vegetable, grain, dairy and protein) to the picture that went with that specific food group.

Then the students sang the food group song.

It goes like this…

(to the tune of jingle bells)

Five food groups, five food groups

Eat them everyday

Grains and Dairy and Protein

Fruits and Vegetables

Five food groups, five food groups

Eat them everyday

Help your body grow to be

Strong in every way!


To finish the day we did one last sun salutation to make sure everyone was well stretched after all that walking around the fields.