Today children will learn why mowing is important for meadows.
- 1 piece of natural colour canvas (to make the grass clearly visible if the carpet in the classroom is multi-coloured)
- Green fabric cut into pieces (enough for all the children in the class)
- Branches (enough for all the children playing sheep and goats)
- Picture cards with a string for the children to hang on their neck (enough for all the children playing sheep and goats)
- 2 small plastic hockey sticks
- String/ribbon (3 pieces 2 meters long)
- CD player or MP3 with ‘Travnice’ meadow songs recordings
- Photo of a large mower
The teacher will place the collected pieces of grass back onto the canvas or on the carpet in the classroom (repeat 2-3 times as necessary throughtout the game). Assume that the animals have grazed and the mowers have arrived. The children who formed an enclosure (4-6 children) in activity ‘Grazing on a meadow’ will place a picture card of a mower on their neck.
The teacher will mark the mowing strips (with a string or ribbon) to guide the children (mowers) to the correct cutting direction. Explain that the mowers mow from the edge towards the centre (from one side to the other) so that the small animals hiding in the grass can escape in time (rodents, nesting birds, etc.). Scatter green pieces and let the children try to mow their own strip.
Introduce the mowing activity by saying to the children that animals do not graze during the winter (depending on its harshness) because the grass is under snow, and therefore it should be mowed in advance. People take care of the animals during the winter by providing them food (hay) and a dweling place. Hay is mowed and naturally dried grass and it also provides the bedding in the animals’ dwelling place. Mowers cut and dry the grass that turns into hay during the summer.
The children assigned as sheep and goats will remain seated in a designated place in the class, while the mowers with the scythes (hockey sticks) can act mowing the grass according to the following rules:
- Select children to stand side by side and mow with the hockey stick in the way that we throw mowed pieces of grass to one side. The scythe should be kept as low as possible so that we can pick up all the pieces of grass and have as much cut as possible per swing
- Let all the children who represent the mowers begin the mowing activity
- The teacher will mention that there are many plant species in the meadow which are popular and nutritious like clovers, juicy dandelions or nutritious grasses. Because they grow quickly and to a large height (up to 130 cm; taller than children and meadow grass) they are mowed regularly and are an important food source for grazing animals. In order to replicate the environment, meadow songs can be played as a background.
- The game can also pose a challenge: which one of the mowers will be the first, but will have a properly mowed meadow? (i.e. all pieces of green cloth collected at the indicated strip).
Once the grass is cut, arrange the pile by raking it through a few times so it can dry to form hay.