Make a Farm
A learning project to create a model farm
using free software
Make a Farm teaches children
about where our food comes from. Using a PC printer
and "Make a Farm" free software, kids
can make their own model farm. Younger children
will learn about farm animals, what they eat, where they
live, and what they produce. Older students can
learn how a farm is organized, and some of the economic
factors that govern farming. Kids also learn to
visualize how two dimensional shapes become three
Use of a PC computer and printer
Tape or glue
Crayons, markers or colored pencils
"Make a Farm" free educational
software program for patterns of farm buildings on
your PC printer: Owl & Mouse Make a Farm
Butcher paper, construction paper
or heavy paper for "ground"
2 paper clips
index cards (for animals)
Open "Make a Farm". Print out the patterns for barn1, barn2,
silo, silo cap, farmhouse, shed, chicken coop and fence.
The farmhouse, barn, chicken coop and the shed need a
roof printed out (or you can cut them out of construction
paper.) Make as many sheds and buildings as you want.
You can print on ordinary
computer paper, or on thicker paper if desired. (you will
probably want to use paper heavier than most computer
paper if a number of children are doing the project.)
Check your printers instructions before printing on heavy
paper--some do and some dont. You can also take
your printouts to a copy shop and copy onto heavier
paper, or enlarge them.
It is best to color the
buildings before cutting them out. When coloring, you
should turn the building around so that you are coloring
each side "right way up". You can decorate and
add things to the buildings, especially the farm house
(curtains, a doorknob, a cat in the window, houseplants,
and flowers and bushes). Barns are traditionally red,
sometimes with white trim. Most of the other buildings
are typically white or wood colored, but you dont
have to be limited by that. Maybe your chicken would like
bright designs on their coop.
Cut out the patterns on the
heaviest black outline, cutting around the tabs where
they occur. You can cut the doors on one side and across
the top, so that they open. Notice the door for the
chickens on the chicken house--on it, cut the two sides
(vertically), as it swings from the top.
Fold the house on all the lines,
including the tab lines. When you hold the buildings with
the colored side toward you, all folds are away from you
(blank sides of the paper together), and at 90 degree
angles when you are finished. Fold everything, then glue
or tape the tabs on the inner (flat) roof to the sides of
the house. Then fasten the back of the house to the
sides. The sides will stick up to hold the roof. The tabs
on the side piece can be used to hold the roof in place
(or cut off, if you prefer). The top of the barn fits
onto the bottom of the barn, with a narrow strip on the
front and back of the bottom piece to hold it on. The top
piece can be secured with glue or tape if you like. If
you want the doors to open, be sure to cut the doors
before you assemble the barn. Younger children may need
help assembling the buildings.
The silo and silo cap are
different from the other buildings. The silo is rolled
into a tube and fastened with tape or glue. (If you are
using tape, you will need to put a piece on the outside).
The silo cap is folded (as if you were trying to put the
circle back together) so that the tab is under the
opposite edge, and glued or taped. The silo goes next to
the barn (either side); you may want to use glue or tape
rolled into a circle and pressed flat to join the silo to
the barn. If you use glue on the silo and silo cap, you
may need to fasten it temporarily with a paper clip while
the glue dries.
Use butcher paper or pieces of
construction to make the fields and yards for the farm.
If you use construction paper, use brown and green to
represent fields in various stages of growth. Brown might
be plowed fields, while green represents crops already
coming up. Tape or glue together as many pieces as you
want to make a farm the size you want (3 pieces x 2
pieces works well).
You will need enough fence to
fence in your cows and horses. Decide what fences you
want for your fields.
Decide what you want to grow on
your farm. You might want to include:
peppers (green, red, yellow)
orange--yes, in California
an herb garden
flowers, (too many to mention)
Of course you
can grow flower all over the farm. Some vineyards grow a
rose at the end of each row of grapes.
Go over what is food for people
and what is food for animals. Of course, animals often
eat other parts of plants which have a food crop for
What does your farm family eat,
and what do you plan to sell? You have to grow more if
you plan to sell some of it. You also need to grow food
for your livestock.
Plan which animals you want to
have on your farm, and then arrange a place for each kind
of animal. The silo is used to store winter food for the
horses and cows. The food has to be stored so that air
cannot get to it, in order to keep it wholesome for them
Chickens--chicken coop and chicken
Cows--barn at night
Horses--barn at night
Do you want anything unusual, such as llamas?
go in the chicken coop at night. When do they go during
the day? You can arrange a chicken yard for them. Do you
have ducks or geese? Where do they stay? You might want
to think about where on your farm you want your house. Is
it close to the edge of your farm, near a road? Where do
you want your barn? Is the barn close to the house? Where
are the chickens? The cows? The pigs? Other animals? Do
you have a dog or a cat? Where do they sleep?
What purpose does each animal
serve? Why do people keep them?
Horses--pull things, or to ride
they live in the barn
Cows--milk and meat
Turkeys, ducks, geese--eggs and meat
Go over what
each kind of food each animal eats, and how you will grow
it for them. The chickens, turkeys and ducks eat corn
that has been cracked for them, and also bugs they find.
Cows and horses eat corn, hay, alfalfa and other plant
material. Pigs eat household scraps. Sheep eat mostly
grass and hay. Goats will eat brush, tree leaves and most
any other kind of plant material.
You can draw the different
animals, or use stickers, or cut pictures out of
magazines. You may want to draw pictures of the things
you grow on your farm on the butcher paper. You will
probably want a path or road out to each of your fields
also. You can move buildings around until you have
exactly the kind of farm you want.
Older children can be led to
think about the geography and climate of farms: They sell
food to people mostly in cities. Are farms in cities? If
it takes three days to get to the city from the farm can
you have a dairy farm? How fresh are your fruits and
vegetables? Where are the farms that raise your food?
Where are the farms closest to you? Fifty years ago, were
there farms where you live? What kinds of farm products
can be raised where you live? Are there differences
between plants you can grow in a garden, and plants it is
practical to grow commercially?
Make a Farm can also tie in with
discussion of history--the settlement of the West and
especially the Midwestern United States, the Homestead
Act, etc. Make a Farm shows a family farm, and a
discussion of the replacement of small farms with larger
farms run by companies, and the economic impacts of this
situation could also be discussed.
For younger students, ask what
you ate yesterday, and then talk about where and how it
Ask if it is better to be raised
on a farm or in a city? Have the kids tell you what they