Teacher Lee Briggs on technology in today's classroom. Brought to you by Weekly Reader.

Field Trip to Grassland!

My gifted and talented students went on a field trip to Grassland Dairy, located down the highway from Greenwood. This local factory supplies much of central Wisconsin with butter. They make, process, package, and ship massive amounts of the stuff for many other companies around the country as well. If you had butter on your toast this morning, chances are good that it might be Grassland Butter. Grassland is also home to a massive automated packaging system, complete with several large robotic arms and miles of conveyer belts. It was the robots that brought my kids to the dairy. For many of them, to see these massive and complicated machines in action gives them an idea where technology can take them and how it affects us even locally.

Students visit Grassland Dairy in Wisconsin

Ready to see technology at work at Grassland Dairy.

The people at Grassland were happy to show us around and explained to my students how all of the incredibly complicated parts of the factory work together. One of my students, a fourth grader who built a robot that sorted LEGO bricks by color, said, “That box sorter works just like my machine!”  We all were floored when we saw that the robot arms that load up boxes without fail are all programmed to within 1/1000 of an inch. “We are going to need to learn our math,” remarked another student.

Look at your local businesses. There is tremendous, real-world application of technology right under our noses. Think of the math involved in stocking a grocery or running a restaurant. The student who loves cars but won’t work on his math might have a change of heart if he is taken to an auto body shop to see just how much of the job is ordering parts and making estimates. Just think what your class could learn from the workers in your community if you take them off campus from time to time.

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Comments on: "Field Trip to Grassland!" (1)

  1. Mary Coburn said:

    Oh my – I haven’t been there in years. I grew up in Wisconsin and a dairy farm – showed cattle with Distinction Farm, the milking part of Grassland. My husband worked with Dallas’s sister & broth-in-law. —– So appreciated reading your post. I now live in Louisiana and bring home Grassland butter and cheese when I visit Wisconsin.

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