A blue-ish feature image background with Shanna's face and the words "Fun Farming Tools" with Episode 175 text.

Fun Farming Tools for Teachers

Looking for some fun, educational tools to teach kids (and adults!) about agriculture and farming? These two digital offerings are engaging, informative, and sure to get learners excited about life on the farm.

SpatialGrow

Want to be a farmer for a day? With the Spatial Grow Farm Builder, you can design and cultivate your own virtual farm from scratch! This immersive experience lets you layout fields, plant crops, build barns and greenhouses, and even add a truck. It’s like a video game that teaches real agricultural skills and principles. As you plan your farm, you’ll learn about the structure and purpose of farming practices. Farm Builder is super engaging for farmers of any age or experience level. It’s a great way to connect kids in non-rural areas to agriculture they may not experience in their community. Grab your tools and start building!

Mooving Cows

Mooving Cows is an udderly awesome app that makes learning about dairy farming both educational and entertaining. Guide your cow through a day of grazing, milking, and and moving to learn the ins and outs of running a dairy farm. The gamified experience features informational facts and farming techniques. Plus, it’s available in both English and Spanish to support more bilingual learners. Whether you’re a dairy devotee or just want to have a cow about farming, this app has something for moo-vers and shakers of all ages. Don’t have a cow, man – download it today! 🐮

So get cultivating with these digital farm tools that bring agriculture to life in interactive and engaging ways. Your learners will be dying to return to the farm day after day.

TECH MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

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Shanna Martin 0:19
Thanks for listening to the Tech Tools for Teachers Podcast, where each week we talked about a free piece of technology that you can use in your classroom. I’m your host, Shanna Martin. I’m a middle school teacher Technology and Instructional Coach from my district.

Fuzz Martin 0:31
And I’m her producer and husband, Fuzz Martin, and I love podcasting because the steaks aren’t very high.

Shanna Martin 0:40
Really? That’s one of all the farm puns out there. That’s gonna cows (steaks), cows, I was thinking like stakes in the ground like farming and vegetable

Fuzz Martin 0:50
Steaks. Oh, no. Are you starting to beef with me?

Shanna Martin 1:00
Yeah, hi. Hello. Welcome.

Fuzz Martin 1:06
Thank you. You’ve got mail.

Shanna Martin 1:07
Um, we are on episode 175. Wow. Yeah.

Fuzz Martin 1:12
Five. That’s awesome. Yeah.

Shanna Martin 1:14
I’m super excited this week, because both virtuals are just really fun.

Fuzz Martin 1:20
They are fun one of them with our youngest at the counter, and she was upset when we had to leave to come to the studio. She was it was pretty cute when he played in the car. And I was like, no, no, no.

Shanna Martin 1:29
Well, education is fun. Sometimes, you know, you can learn out the window. You know, because you can look out the window and learn about your community. 175 I have a slight cold. Sorry, everybody. You’re gonna be okay. And we are piling on the fun week of parent teacher conferences. And mid February and we just had snow random this week and an ice storm. And now it’s supposed to be like 50 degrees by Friday. Just crazy. Yeah, but it’s good. And we’re doing we’re having some farm fun this week. So while in Wisconsin, many of our schools have what they call FFA,

Fuzz Martin 2:14
Future Farmers of America where they have the ag, ag class,

Shanna Martin 2:16
Ag classes AG, so agriculture. And so we have all of these things built into our schools. And not all schools have these opportunities. And really these tools that we’re talking about, while they could be used in ag classes, they can totally be used anywhere. So if you’re having kids just build, like if we’re talking about different types of communities, and you want them to learn about a farming community, if you’re talking about like structure of the Midwest, like there’s just so many different ways you could build farming in I know, sometimes our youngest is in third grade. And they talk about like just different, like plants and growth and things like that in science class, you could totally put these sites in there as well. So they can be applied in a bunch of different areas, even if you’re not taking teaching an agricultural class.

Fuzz Martin 3:03
And let’s just face it with these.

Shanna Martin 3:05
These two are just really fun. Like adults.

Fuzz Martin 3:08
You can brain break all day long.

Shanna Martin 3:11
Right here. Yeah, so yeah, brain breaks or recess, I’m indoor recess and or just because they’re fun and interesting. Or if you’re doing some summer garden planning, like you can totally do that, too. So basically, anybody can play with these sites. There’s no recommended age and one is a site. The second one is an app this week. So let’s start with our website. The first one we’re going to talk about, it’s called spatial growth. Okay, the site Spatialgrow.com/builder-tool, SpatialGrow does have like a homepage that will have different STEM resources and things like that for education. But if you want to get directly to the 3d Builder that we’re gonna talk about, you need to go to spatial grow dot COM slash builder tool, otherwise, it’ll be hard for you to find. So the farm builder tool is basically just highly entertaining. Creation of a farm.

It’s not quite Farmville, because there’s no animals. But there are trees and vegetables and roads and trucks and all kinds of things. So I will say it’s a slight learning curve, for those of us who have Macs because it gives you directions with having a mouse so does a lot of like, hold Shift, right click, hold Shift, left click just for like, when you want to delete things, and you use the arrows on your keyboard to zoom in, zoom out. So that’s something to note when you’re going into the site. There’s you just have to learn the directions basically. But you have the option so you have start with building structures. And once you click on building structures, it gives you all kinds of choices so you can have like tables and shelves, and doorways and windows and things like that. So you want to build a building, you can. If you want to go beyond that, within building structures, there’s growing systems, so talk to like vertical towers, and it talks about raised beds and a grow tent and different types of systems. They even have a greenhouse. So like I just dropped a greenhouse in my space, which is pretty awesome. And again, zooming in and zooming out with your arrow keys will be very helpful. But then, when you go through, you’ve got like your environment. So you can add fencing, you can add apple trees, you can add tree one, which is a large tree if it’s close up or further out. And you’ll notice like, when I first started playing, I was like, oh, that’s kind of a small space to work. And then I realized you just keep arrowing over a different space. And you just keep building your farm and building your farm.

So there’s different types of trees, you can add roads in there. So like road corner and a road curves. So you could make an intersection in your fields of lettuce, you could add a pond, if you want a water feature, you can drop a pond in, you know, because you can do that too. And then from there, they also have other categories. So plants you can choose if you want to let us patch or a watermelon patch. Or you could add pumpkin patches, because we all need pumpkins, right, correct, and potatoes and tomatoes and chilies and strawberries and squash and corn. So you’re gonna add all these vegetables and start planting things. And then they also farm equipment. So if you want to add a garage, you can drop a good ol Polsat in there, if you want to shed, they also have a shed which separate than impulsive. So that’s an option, there’s a trailer, you can park it in your shed if you want to. And then you’re just arrowing over.

So the whole thing is that you can learn about different farm tools, but also how they should be situated in the farm. So if you have kids do some research. Like if we’re going to need a lot of sun, we’re probably not going to put the vegetable patch next to a couple of trees in a pole shed, we think we’re going to need to put them out in the open. And so you can there’s even silos you can drop a silo in. And they can just keep zooming in and zooming out and making more space to make it larger farm. And you just keep going and going and adding things and building things.

What’s cool about this is you can it’s really entertaining, you can create your own farm coder just generates a code for you. And then you can share that code with other people. And then they can get into your farm and add to your farm. So if you want kids to do something CommPartners or something like that, they can then share and work on the same farm together. Yep, you can also save your farm with that code. So then if I want to like leave that place, and then come back, I can just type that code back in and I get my farm back up. So it’s a really easy way to kind of understand basics of farming, how to structure things, but also it’s like this fun little entertainment space. And if you to finger click like on a Mac, you can move around so you can actually change your shape. And yeah, it took me a second to figure that one out, too.

Fuzz Martin 7:58
But you could shift in two finger click on a Mac, it’ll delete an object that you don’t want there.

Shanna Martin 8:03
Yeah. So you can kind of zoom around and zoom in and out. And then you can also spin 3D To see your farm. So wow, yeah. So it allows you to build a farm. And it gives you kind of all the basics. So that way you can go through and create and highlight different features. So if you have a group of kids, and maybe you could put a challenge to them, like okay, you only get to put in one structure, and like 15 trees, and then you get to grow, especially, you know, you can and say and this group is going to design something differently. And then tell us like the highlights of your farmer, why did you choose these pieces within your farm? Versus Why would you do something else? So there’s all different kinds of ways to use it. And just really entertaining.

Fuzz Martin 8:47
Yeah, it is. I think one of the other cool things is it really shows you how perspective works when when you move an object when you go to create the object. So let’s say I’m going to grab a tall silo because they’re really, really tall. And if they’re up close, it takes up the whole screen. But as you move the mouse backwards to place it, it automatically scales to the right perspective, based on the horizon line that they give you. So really, even from like an art perspective gives you that feeling of where on the horizon line, that size of 3d objects should, should live. So really cool.

Shanna Martin 9:23
It is cool. It also gives shadows if you notice that it tells you like where the sun’s coming from gives you shadows within your space to. So again, it’s just it’s to teach about farming and structures of farms and like how you would build your farm, you’re going to add your little like dirt rows and all the dirt and all the dirt row and you can sing songs while there is a pickup truck in there. Under equipment. There’s a pickup truck, which was when I was playing with just for the record nice. You could add a random road curve in there so you can make little paths but really spatial grow. Yeah, the farm building tool is really entertaining and teaches you a little bit about farming. And there’s just so many different ways you could use it for designing purposes and teaching kids about farming and also just letting them play around and explore even the different pieces of a farm. Yeah, like I take for granted a bit that we are surrounded by farms where we spend a lot of time driving past farms. And not everybody gets to do that. So understanding the difference between a green house and a shed, and why you would add fencing around to make sure that you know, animals stay in and, and grassy edges like berms are needed and different things like that. They’re just all a part of it. So it’s really fun to play around with.

Fuzz Martin 10:39
Yeah, so again, that is called spatialgrow.com. And it’s their builder tool.

Shanna Martin 10:45
That’s their farm builder tool. So build a farm, I want to see what you guys create. It really is fun. You’ll see a few pictures of mine on Spartan wi but really, like you could spend hours doing this, if you want to make wills, Farmville education. All right, there you go. So spatialgrow.com Farm builder tool, check that out in any of the stem tools they have to steal the other one we’re talking about. Yes, is an app. And I don’t usually highlight too many apps. But this one goes with our farm theme. And it’s created through UW Madison. Correct. Fun. Yes. And it’s called Mooving Cows.

Fuzz Martin 11:26
Mooving Cows,

Shanna Martin 11:27
so I’m gonna link to the website, on my site. So you can find it, it’s under like animal, you

Fuzz Martin 11:34
just go to that if you go to moovingcows.com It will take you right to this page,

Shanna Martin 11:38
though. So so it’s really UW Madison, but you can go to mooving.com And it will take you

Fuzz Martin 11:46
Because you see there’s a pun. And that’ll get you there. And it’s cute. It is cute. It’s like a Farmville game kind of but it’s really educational, and walks you through the steps on how to work with livestock really with cows. So the app works on both Android and on iOS. And it’s so cute. When you log in or you start you don’t have to log in, but you give it a name, whatever that you’re gonna use. It starts to give you different tips on how to work with cows, and they’ve got like kind of this starts with this, like circle around each of the cows says like they can see you here. They can’t see you here.

Shanna Martin 12:31
And it’s like a dairy farm. Right? Yeah. So it’s dairy farming. And it’s teaching anybody that wants to learn about dairy farming? Correct. So it doesn’t have to be like, while I always highlight things for education and kids, as you were saying before, like our youngest is playing who’s in third grade. As you’re playing an adult, it’s super fun. So really, anyone can play and learn about dairy cows. Yeah.

Fuzz Martin 12:51
And each level, they kind of teach you a different way to move the cows get them out of the pen or into the milking area. And you know, there’s like a space where you’re not supposed to stand behind them because you could get kicked. If you take actions too quickly. It startles them. And when they get startled, it lowers their milk production. And so it’s a there’s a whole lot that actually goes that’s involved in how you act around livestock.

Shanna Martin 13:20
Well, I’m using body language, right? Like that’s the thing that they highlight is that like, you’re like the cows can read your body language. And if you want to be, like effective in handling dairy cows, you should know these things like it’s it’s really educational, exactly as you go through. Yep.

Fuzz Martin 13:39
So it says you can play on mobile touchscreen devices, including phones, tablets, and Chromebooks.

Shanna Martin 13:45
So if you have touched Chromebooks, that would be Yeah, you can load the apps on to you could absolutely do it that way too.

Fuzz Martin 13:51
It has tutorials for each step by step it actually has narration I didn’t listen to the narration. But one of the cool parts is that you can play in English or Spanish, and you can switch back and forth at anytime.

Shanna Martin 14:02
Yeah, which is awesome. So like your kids, you don’t have to worry about some kids feeling left out or making sure that all the kids are able to play, you can totally do that. And so, I mean, I know our youngest was super excited. But what are some of the things that it teaches you as you’re going through, I was not standing over her shoulder while she was playing?

Fuzz Martin 14:19
Yeah. So like, for instance, if you when you move to go walk by a cow in order to get them to move in the direction you want them to, and I am struggling not to say move. If you go too short, it’ll move quickly. And that will startle the cow and they might run away from you.

Shanna Martin 14:38
And then you have to you have to how many do you have to gather up while you’re gathering cows.

Fuzz Martin 14:42
So at every level is different. So they have a number of them some like it starts with two and then it goes up to you know, a bunch, but the like the hard one was like when they’re in a pen and you got to get them out of the pen in order to get them to the milking area. Yeah, you have to like get in the pen. and get in front of them, but you can’t stand behind them because they’ll kick you. And also it has like, they’ll slip on manure. And so it’s, but it’s kind of real life. Yeah things but each way it tells you what you’ve done. And for instance, if if you get kicked, a little window pops up and if you click it too fast without reading it, it you’ll like slap the cow or do something that show frustration. And then the cow gets startled and then you lose milk production. So gotta lose. It’s, it’s really cool. And again, it’s from the University of Wisconsin Madison, Dr. Jennifer Van Os is the project lead, Dr. Nigel Cook, co-lead. Super cool.

Shanna Martin 15:47
So fun. And when you complete everything, you get a certificate of completion. document your continuing education by finishing you’re moving house, which is awesome. It’s just so cool and super engaging. Like I have not had as much time as you have. But it is very cool. And I love a good educational tool. That’s fine and free, free and surely local, which is kind of fun.

Fuzz Martin 16:14
Right? Exactly. So check it out. Moovingcows.com two O’s in moving. That’ll get you to the website, which is on the University Wisconsin Madison

Shanna Martin 16:23
Oh, yeah, that’s our farming fun for today. I hope everyone goes in like, has some Farming. Farming can be fun. I know. Farming is also a ton of work and our farmers work year round and are doing so much for us. So just love farm fun in those. wintry grossness

Fuzz Martin 16:41
Yeah, so am I gonna have a burger just in their honor. At least a glass of milk.

Shanna Martin 16:45
Oh my goodness. At least some ice cream. Thanks for joining again, this has been the Tech Tools for Teachers Podcast. If you ever have any questions, you can find me on the app formerly known as Twitter. It’s Martin wi.com, or on threads. If you want to get more information on the links to the technology discussed in this episode, you can visit smartinwi.com. If you’d like to support the show, please consider buying me a coffee or two at buymeacoffee.com/smartinwi or visit smartinwi.com and click on that cute little purple coffee cup. Your donations help keep the show going. New episodes each week. Thanks for listening, go educate and innovate.

Fuzz Martin 17:22
The ideas and opinions expressed in this podcast and the smartinwi.com website are those will be author Shanna Martin and not of her employer. Prior to using any of the technologies discussed on this podcast, please consult with your employer regulations. This podcast offers no guarantee that these tools will work for you as we’ve described, but we hope they do. We’ll talk to you next time right here on the Tech Tools for Teachers Podcast.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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