Students learn farm skills with hands-on calf care
Student from seven South West schools were given hands-on experience learning about dairy industry careers after being tasked with rearing and caring for two three-week-old calves through Dairy Australia’s Cows Create Careers Farm Module.
A dairy farmer taught the students how to care for the calves and demonstrated skills such as animal husbandry, feeding and weighing.
Students formed teams to complete industry-based assessments throughout the program, which included the topics of safety, industry careers and the process of the milk going from the farm to a store.
Eaton Community College’s Year 7 cohort participated in the program, where they were required to feed their calves – named Milky Way and Little Moo – twice a day and on weekends, as well as check the calves’ health and clean up after the animals.
Year 7 science teacher Kelli Symonds said it was a new experience for many of the students.
“We did what is called an entry survey at the beginning to get an idea of what kids know about dairy farming and the dairy industry, because it is all about promoting working in the industry and all the different careers available,” she said.
“It’s a good learning experience because the students actually get to see the calves themselves and get an idea of how big they are – they actually see the real process and go in to make up the milk and feed them.
“It’s great because some kids have never done anything like that before.”
Ms Symonds said the program linked into the school’s biology curriculum where the students had been learning about food chains, food webs and energy transfer.
Dairy Australia Workforce Development program manager Sally Roberts said the project increased awareness of the industry and built strong connections with the community.
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