Dairy Goat Delivers Lesson to Campers

“I can’t tell if it’s her heartbeat or she’s chewing.”

Ah, yes. The challenges of putting a stethoscope up against a goat’s chest to hear its heart. Campers at Knight Lights were able to pet, poke and play with a two-month-old goat to learn about immunity, disease, respiration and, yes, heart rates.

“A goat’s heartbeat is much faster than ours,” said incoming 5th grader Nicole Dunkailo.

Campers first measured their own heart rates, learning where on their bodies they could find their pulse then how to calculate the rate. They then measured their number of breaths to get their respiration rate before comparing their results to the goat.

This lesson kicked off animal science week at Knight Lights. It’s part of the state-funded Ag in the Classroom program to help students connect with agriculture. Campers admitted the presence of the goat helped them learn.

“You pay extra attention,” said incoming 4th grader Raelynne Lavine.

Campers also learned about diseases and immunity. They discovered how measures such as handwashing, immunizations and avoiding the spread of bodily fluids such as saliva help keep people and animals free from disease.

“We can show them how a goat builds immunity like we do. We can show them ways in which animals and humans are similar,” said Cornell Cooperative Extension 4-H said Tech Wizards teacher Kelly Adams.

As part of animal science week Knight Lights campers will visit Windsor Acres Farm later this week. Four- to seven-year-old students will go Wednesday morning while seven- to 11-year-old students will go on Thursday.

Picture of a goal surrounded by children

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