Activities about the countryside
These activities aim to give children an introduction to the countryside and organic farming. They encourage them to examine their local environment closely and discover what the farm is comprised of.
Activity: Put yourself on the map
From a good viewpoint, look over the farm and the countryside beyond. What can you see around you? How much of the countryside is farmed? Where does the organic farm end? You will need a plan of the farm to help you.
Make a map on the ground of what you can see out of natural materials, for example twigs, leaves, grass and stones. Look for the type of landscape, fields, hedgerows, trees, rivers, and buildings.
Perhaps make a linear 'map' of your trip as you walk around the farm. Collect interesting things that you find as you go around to remind you of the day and tie them to a stick with grass stems. Look for colourful leaves from a wood and clover from a grass field.
Did you know?
Some 76 per cent of the UK land area is farmland so the care of the countryside is mostly under the control of farmers. Organic farms are governed by strict standards which, together with prohibiting herbicides and synthetic pesticides, promote a farming system which actively encourages wildlife. Crop rotations avoid single crop 'monocultures', helping the farmer to build fertility and control pests, weeds and diseases. They also provide habitat diversity for wildlife.
Pupils can develop:
- Observation, collection and recording skills.
- Relevant vocabulary.
- Knowledge and understanding of the environment.
- Use of maps and plans.
- Skills in recognising different features, processes and patterns in the landscape.
Enables pupils to:
- Use observation, collection and recording skills.
- Explore different materials and select those that can communicate what they see.
- Develop creativity and imagination.
History of farms
- Using old maps and photographs of the area, pupils could identify how things have changed in the landscape and what has stayed the same.
- Consider the differences between farming techniques and technology in the past and the present day.
Activity: The farm detectives
You are detectives and have just arrived on the farm to solve the mystery of organic farming. Look for clues to find out how the organic farm works.
Try to find evidence of:
- Something that plants grow in and provides them with nutrients.
- A plant which creatures eat.
- Something smelly.
- Mini-beasts and creepy crawlies.
- A yellow leaf.
- Evidence of things that fly.
- Something smooth.
- Signs of other animals and wildlife.
- Something prickly.
- Clues as to where animals live.
- Some clover.
- Evidence of human beings.
Did you know?
Organic farming is not just about producing food, it is also about creating a varied and healthy environment. There is a place for wildlife, woodlands, ponds and flowers as well as for people and crops. Organic farms come close to the image of farming that many children grow up with.
By investigating and observing the environment and collecting evidence, pupils can find out about different kinds of plants and animals and how they are suited to different habitats. This will give them an introduction to what makes up the countryside on an organic farm.