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Colonial America – Ye Olde Livestock Center

August 23, 2011
The livestock waiting outside the log cabin.

The livestock waiting outside the log cabin.

Rita researched the animals the colonist would have on their farms and painted them for our students to measure.  When she brought them in she would very dramatically shake a bag that she had carried them in, as if they were alive inside.  The kids loved it.

She also gave them some history of horses (she loves horses!).

  • Horses were an important aspect of America’s history.  Fossils show that herds of horses wandered throughout North and South America during the Ice Age.  For some unknown reason, they disappeared from the Western Hemisphere.
  • Spanish explorers brought them to Mexico in 1519 and those left behind spread to America.  Native Americans began to use horses to hunt buffalo.
  • Early Americans brought horses with them for plowing fields, pulling wagons, carrying people and soldiers in the Revolutionary War, as well as, hauling cannons and supplies.
  • Later horses were used in the Pony Express to carry mail between cities that were a long way apart.
  • They were used for stagecoaches and buggies.
  • Horses were the main source of transportation until mechanical inventions made it possible to travel faster.

We posted a sign “Ye Olde Livestock Center” with all of the animals and worksheets covering a variety of math abilities. The work sheets covered standard measurements and metric.  There was a reminder sign with the following:

Standard measurement

  • 12 inches = 1 foot
  • 3 feet = 1 yard
  • 36 = 1 yard

Metric measurement

  • 10 centimeters = 1 decimeter
  • 10 decimeters = 1 meter
  • 100 centimeters = 1 meter

I have also found over the years that all rulers are not made the same – (let’s just confuse kids more).  Some start an inch right at the edge while others have a gap of 1/4″. So it pays to remind the children your working with that they need to start measuring where the inch mark begins.  You can purchase rulers that only mark every inch, every half inch or to the quarter inch.  These rulers make it much easier for young kids that aren’t ready for 3/4″ yet.

The animals were laid out all over the floor with our students measuring a rooster, horse, cow or pig.  It was a great activity – it was almost like having real animals in the room, without having to clean out the stalls. Although they weren’t real animals, the students learned terms like pastern, hock, croup and forelegs and had a lot of fun while practicing using rulers and yardsticks.

A rooster ready to be measured.

A rooster ready to be measured.

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