A County Fair Can Lead to an Exploration of Math, Science, and Literature
A county fair can provide an educational experience for students.
By Cathy Neushul
When you think of the county fair, the first thing that comes to mind may not be all the educational opportunities. It might conjure up images of roller coasters, ferris wheels, cotton candy, and those delicious funnel cakes. But you’ll find that the fair can be a way to get students thinking about a variety of educational topics.
First of all, you can have students list all the different things they might see at the fair. Don’t forget to have students list the musical groups, art work, flower displays or other things that might be featured. Leave space next to this list to add a sentence describing each of the items. For example, a student could describe cotton candy as “A pink, fluffy candy that delights the tongue and makes you want to come back for more.” Try to encourage students to be as descriptive as possible. When they are talking about rides they shouldn’t just say it was fun or fast, they should describe the experience. For example, “The ride spun around forward and backward. I felt like I was suspended in air. It was fun and scary at the same time.” You might want to have students write an essay about their real or imaginary experiences at the fair, making sure that they are as descriptive as possible.
You could also have students list the animals that are found at the fair. Students could do a research project in which they look on the Internet to see what types of animals they would see at a fair, and list all the different varieties of those animals. It’s amazing how many different kinds of goats, sheep, pigs and cows you can see. Students could do research on a particular animal, and present the information to the class. In this way you can incorporate science into your discussion.
You also might want to read students “Charlotte’s Web” by E.B. White. This is a terrific book to get students thinking about the animals at the fair. Students may find themselves looking at the animals a little differently after getting to know Wilbur.
Students might also enjoy creating a game they might find at the fair and performing some experiments. For example, you could have students make a bottle and ring game. Students could use empty bottles and rings to see how easy it would be to get a ring around a bottle. They can experiment by adding sand or some other substance to the bottle to see if it makes it easier or harder to get the ring around the top. They could also experiment to see how the size of the ring effects how easy or hard it is to succeed. As everyone knows, it is not always easy to win when you are playing a game at the fair. Students can analyze how the materials used in a game can make it more challenging to win. They can write about their experiment and the results and share with the class.
What follows are more lessons that can make a fair an educational experience.
Fair Lesson Plans:
Students learn about different kinds of fairs, participate in a role play, and discuss what they have learned.
Students discuss the cultural and economic impact of a fair, and plan their own classroom event.
Students discuss the book "Charlotte's Web" by E. B. White and learn about fairs.
Students learn about physics while they learn about roller coasters. This is a motivating way to get students to think about science.