KS2 Computing activities that can be carried out before, during and after a farm visit.
Curriculum area: Using Search Technology
Research: Use electronic information to research what people are saying about a topical farming or countryside issue. What are the different points of view? Who is holding them and why? Take different points of view, organise the information that supports them and hold a class debate.
There is a huge selection of information available electronically. For this activity it would be useful to look at the websites maintained by national and regional newspapers. These usually have searchable archives of articles from back issues.
Curriculum area: Combine a Variety of Software
Music program: compose a tune or a song about a farm animal.
Controlling machines: use a floor robot or computer-controlled buggy to simulate a tractor working on a slope. Investigate the angle it will tilt to before toppling over. Which factors affect it?
Mathematical modelling: use a spreadsheet to record and compare the dimensions of different- sized cylinders. Investigate the dimensions needed to contain a litre of milk. What is the best solution? Investigate other container shapes.
Use a spreadsheet to investigate how milk yield from a herd varies through the year; how the number of farm animals kept in the United Kingdom changes from year to year; or how prices paid for crops have changed over time. Are there any patterns in the changes? What causes them?
Create and use a branching-tree database to identify farm animals/
Create a data file: Use packaging labels to research the geographical origins of different types of food. Enter the information into a database. Use the data to explore issues, e.g. find all the foods from one country or region. What is it about that area that makes it possible to grow those products - weather, soil, technology etc. Does any other area grow them? What do the two areas have in common? Does price depend on where it is produced? If so, why?
Desktop publishing: create a poster advertising a farm open day. Incorporate pictures taken, created in an art package or scanned from class work or photographs.
Multimedia authoring: create a talking storybook for younger children about events on a farm. Incorporate pictures. Record and include sound effects and speech.
Creating internet web pages: link to a local farm. Find out all about it. With the farmer's permission organise your information into an on-screen trail that will allow people on the internet to find out how the farm works.
Farming-year calendar: collect information about how farm animals are cared for. Create a calendar to show what they do and what happens to them each month.
This section concentrates mainly on 'open-ended' software and equipment that may be used in a variety of topics and curriculum areas. Much of it will be readily available in most schools.
Many word processing/desktop publishing programs for school now allow for the creation of linked web pages. Many local education authorities will help their schools to put suitable material onto the internet.