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Dairy Farm Mathematics

Author(s): Richard Francisco1, Katie Gilbert1

University of Georgia

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We based our instructional unit on the premise that many people have, that one does not need mathematics if the they do not plan on atttending college or pursuiting careers known for involving mathematics.


A huge misconception many students have is that mathematics has no relevance in the blue-collar industry. The goals of this lesson are to dispell this myth, to demonstrate, explore and discuss mathematics through a field operation, and through investigative activities to extend the concepts from the farm to general mathmematics with the use of technology. We will use a field trip to a local Dairy Farm, Gilbert and Sons Dairy Farm, to achieve these goals.

Here is a brief description of the mathematical rationale behind the trip to the dairy farm:

The Gilbert family, who own Gilbert and Sons Dairy Farm, were kind enough to allow our class to visit their farm and examine mathematics in their workplace. Russ and Katie Gilbert, whose family farm is located at 2281 Appalachee Rd. in Madison, GA 30650, were the primary contacts and facilitators for the field experience. They proved quite the instructional duo, as Russ is an intelligent, thoughtful second generation farmer, while his wife Katie is well-versed in mathematics, having received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Emory University and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in mathematics education at the University of Georgia.

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