Saturday, March 17, 2012

dairy bowl

Nope, not a bowl of ice cream. An actual competition where they ask 4-H kids questions about dairy cows and dairy operations and the dairy business and important dates in dairy history (who knew) and just about every affliction that can be visited on an unlucky dairy cow. Not to mention the whole reproductive process.

It is mind-boggling how much information this is.

Seven kids from the 4-H club decided a few months ago that this sounded like a lot of fun, or at least something that they had an interest in doing. Two of them were Primo and Secondo. None of them have ever owned or worked with a cow, and two of them own no livestock, just rabbits.

Once they got into the sheer volume of material they may have had second thoughts, but they (rarely) let on. Those kids kept plugging away, learning such things as:

(a) the scientific name for mad cow disease; and...

(b) which breed is known for its golden milk; and...

(c) the fast food chain that uses the most milk; and...

(d) how old a calf is when it begins to chew its cud; and...

(e) how many pounds of whole milk it takes to make a pound of cheese; and...

(f) what month is National Ice Cream Month...

That's just the tip of the iceberg. (But the answers are below in case you want to know.)

We had multiple study sessions together, and for the past three weeks, I e-mailed them ten questions to study, every night. Even past the point where I suspected they weren't even looking at the e-mails, I kept it up. I didn't want them to think I had given up on them. What they did with the help was their choice.

Today they got the chance to test their knowledge. The kids they were competing against had cows of their own, so there was a bit of a handicap, but they made a pretty good showing! They kept on studying during their breaks, trying to cram even more cow-related information into their brains.

At the end of the day, they didn't advance, but they weren't particularly disappointed. They all answered at least one question correctly and they knew the answers to quite a few more (the competition was a buzzer system that rewarded a good knowledge of how the buzzer worked). Most of them plan to try again next year.

If you had told my poor LSH when we first had children, that someday they would want to learn everything there is to know about a cow, he wouldn't have believed you.

(a) bovine spongiform encephalopathy; (b) Guernsey; (c) McDonalds; (d) 2-3 weeks; (e) 10 pounds; (f) July. I learned a few things along the way as well!

1 comment:

  1. Impressive! Thinking they learned a whole lot more than just about dairy cows. Good work. Time well spent.