The Dawes County Fairgrounds was alive with activity Oct. 3, as over 260 third and fourth grade students from Crawford, Chadron, Gordon and Rushville attended Animals Inside & Out. The day-long field trip focused on animal science topics, with youth participating in a variety of hands-on activities and interactive games to enhance the learning experience. Financial sponsors for this event included Runza, Dawes County 4-H Council, and Sheridan County 4-H Council.
Nebraska Extension Educators and Assistants were joined by other experts in the animal science field to teach nine different stations. They included body systems such as circulatory, skeletal, digestive, reproductive, and muscular; animal management and care; by-products; and animal science careers. Youth saw livestock up close with sheep, goats, and horses all on hand.
Youth also had the opportunity to play with “Commodity Carnival," a fun learning activity for students to experience managing the business risks associated with producing and bringing livestock to market. The game aims to build greater literacy in agricultural science and economics. One of the highlights of Animals Inside & Out was offering the students the unique opportunity to see actual reproductive tracts, an embryo, fetuses, and a beef heart.
“My daughter has not stopped talking about the event! She learned so much about animal science. She loved every minute. Good job and thank you to all the teachers and volunteers involved,” stated one of the parents of a youth that attended.
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Event staff included Tessa Reece, Melissa Mracek, Jenny Nixon, Ashley Fenning, Sarah Paisley, Nathan Rice, Amanda Davis, Laura Narjes, and Hazy Nielson. Animals were provided by Ericka Lans, Melissa Mracek, and Kelly Phillips.
Animals Inside & Out is a hands-on lesson series designed for 3rd to 5th grade youth developed by Nebraska Extension staff in partnership with UNL Animal Science Faculty, Local Farm Bureau Agencies, Beef Team Members, 4-H Ag Literacy Team Members, Nebraska Beef Lab, NCTA Students, 4-H Volunteers, CASNR Student Recruitment and local Cattleman Associations. It is presented state-wide in a multitude of classroom and field day settings.
For more information on bringing Animals Inside & Out or other 4-H related learning experiences to your classroom or after school program, please contact your local Nebraska Extension office. In Dawes County, call Tessa Reece or Melissa Mracek at 432-3373.