Andrea Fristoe

From Paper to Plywood -- Scaled Animal Handling Facilities -- 2014 Ideas Unlimited Award Winner, Region III -- Josh Christiansen

Blog Post created by Andrea Fristoe on May 27, 2015

Josh Christiansen
2014 NAAE Region III Ideas Unlimited Award Winner



Students look for classroom experiences that they can apply to real life. Hands-on lessons where they can create something tangible will help them find value in their work and be more engaged in the classroom. For students in Josh Christiansen's class at Flandreau High School in Flandreau, South Dakota, creating scaled, three-dimensional models of animal handling facilities does just that.

"Animal science students are able to get into the ag mechanics shop for this project," said Christiansen. "They learn about animal handling facilities, scale drawings, and some basic tack welding skills."

Christiansen first presents his students with information about various types of animal handling facilities through a Prezi he developed. Once the students have a basic understanding of the key components of different facilities, he assigns them each a scenario, from which they have to design and build a scale model of the appropriate livestock handling facility.

Examples of Christiansen's scenarios include a beef finishing feedlot for 1500 steers and heifers, a hog farrow-to-finish operation for 200 sows, and a sheep production facility for 800 ewes. Each scenario includes specific requirements to meet the animals' needs.

After his students have their scenario, they create a scale drawing of their facility. Students must research information about pen size, space required per animal, and much more to develop their drawing. They also use math skills to determine the appropriate slope of loading chutes, diameter of push-tubs, and many other components of their facility.

After the students have completed their drawings, they construct a model of the facility on a four-foot by four-foot piece of plywood. Once the scale model facilities are complete, the students prepare and present a tour of their facilities. They discuss the dimensions and design of their creation and explain why each component is placed and measured the way it is. The students also share what they have learned about handling livestock humanely.

"The students have enjoyed the project and are often excited to take the model home," added Christiansen.

Attached below are the instructions and examples of livestock handling facility scenarios for this lesson.

The Ideas Unlimited award is sponsored by National Geographic Learning | Cengage Learning. For more information about this award and to learn about the other 2014 Ideas Unlimited award winners, follow this link.


Calving Barn2013.jpeg Cow-Calf2013.jpg  FeedersWorkingChutes.jpg


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