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Teacher Preparation

Learning Goal

Upon completion of this lesson students will be able to understand information about dairies in Oklahoma.


Learning Standards

  1. SS: 1.3 The student will examine important events and historical figures in the nation’s past.
  2. SS: 1.3.3 Read and construct basic timelines to understand the chronology of events in history.
  3. SS: K.4 The student will identify basic economic concepts.
  4. SS: K.4.4 Explain how various community members including police officers, firefighters, soldiers, school personnel, business professionals, and medical personnel impact the student’s life.


Resources & Materials

Lesson Delivery


Anticipatory Set

  • Can you imagine what it would be like if you lived before people had cars, machines, and grocery stores? How do you think those people got their food?
    • Well early people learned how to work with the animals; people made sure the animals were healthy and had plenty of food, and the animals helped people perform tasks. This is what we call domestication.
    • “Early cattle served a triple purpose for the humans who raised them. They
      provided meat, milk, and labor. Cattle are no longer used as beasts of burden, but they still provide us with meat and dairy products.” (Oklahoma Ag in the Classroom: Dairy Facts)
    • As time went on people learned that some cattle were better at making milk and others were better at making meat; so, we separated them into dairy cattle, the one’s that give us milk, and beef cattle, the ones that give us meat.
  • Today we are going to learn all about dairy cattle and dairy farms here in Oklahoma, and why they are so important to us.


Direct Instruction

1st Learning Goal: Upon completion of this lesson students will be able to understand information about dairies in Oklahoma. (info from Oklahoma Ag in the Classroom, National Ag in the Classroom, and Sunup Tv)


Content Outline

Dairy Favorites

  • Can you think of some of your favorite things that come from dairy? (ex. Ice cream, cheese, milk)
    • The first ice cream parlor in America opened in New York City in 1777. Before the invention of the milking machine, cows were milked by hand in the same stalls where they ate and slept. By the early 1930s dairymen began to set up special rooms just for milking (OAC)
    • The first commercial ice cream plant was established in 1851 by Jacob Fussell.(OAC)
    • The ice cream cone made its debut at the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis. (OAC)
    • It takes about 12 pounds of milk to make one gallon of ice cream.
    • Vanilla is America's favorite ice cream flavor (NAC)
    • Milk was named Oklahoma's official state beverage on November 2, 2002 (OAC)
    • It takes about 23 pounds of milk to make one pound of butter. (OAC)
    • Factories produce cheese in 500-pound blocks. (OAC)
    • All cheese is naturally white. Yellow cheeses are yellow because color is added to them. (OAC)

Milk - what is it?

  • Did anyone have milk with your breakfast?
    • Milk is 87% water, but also has fat, proteins, and enzymes in it that make it more nutritionally diverse than water (Sunup tv)
    • A protein in milk called casein is used to make white school glue (OAC)
    • One quart of milk weighs 2.15 pounds. (OAC)
    • The cow that produces the most milk is the Holstein. (OAC)


  • Did you all know that there weren’t cellphones that long ago? Things are constantly changing so we get cooler technology all the time, and the same has happened for dairies.
    • In the past, a person could take up to 1 hour to milk 6 cows by hand. Today, a person can milk 100 or more cows per hour using modern machines and technology. (NAC)
    • Cows produce twice the amount of milk today than they did during the 1960s. (OAC)
    • Before modern milk delivery, when people traveled and wanted milk, they had to take their cows with them. (NAC)

Dairy Cows

  • Show students to viewing window for this one and ask them what they see.
    • As of 2017, there were over 400 Dairy farms in the state of Oklahoma (USDA)
    • As of 2017, there were around 93,000 total dairy cows and heifers in Oklahoma (USDA)
    • Oklahoma dairy cows produce 1.3 billion pounds of milk annually. The average Oklahoma herd produces nearly 3 million pounds of milk per year. (OAC)
    • Some common dairy cattle have markings that make them easy to recognize. Holstein cattle are probably the easiest to recognize because they are white with black spots. But dairy cattle, like beef cattle, come in many different colors. (OAC)
    • Each day a cow spends six hours eating and eight hours chewing its cud. (OAC)
    • The average dairy cow consumes 300 pounds of water each day. (OAC)
    • Dairy cows produce, on average, 6-8 gallons of milk per day while the average beef cow can only produce 2-4 gallons a day while nursing a calf. (OAC)

Dairy Farmers

  • Do you know who takes care of the cows here and how much work it takes to take care of a cow?
    • On the dairy farm, the farmer's workday begins and ends with milking. (OAC)
    • One of the dairy operator's most important jobs is keeping everything very clean. That is the only way to make sure bacteria doesn't get into the milk and cause it to spoil. (OAC)
    • The U.S. dairy industry conducts more than 3.5 million tests each year to certify the milk we drink is safe and wholesome (NAC)

Learning Activity

Provide the students with coloring sheets that depict some of the facts and have easy
to read captions.


Closing Announcements/Reminders

  • Answer any questions they may have
  • Show them the robot and viewing windows one more time
  • Thank students for coming to the Ferguson Family Dairy
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