Return to Headlines

West 2nd Graders Learn about Cowboys Through Music

What does ki-yi yippee yippee yay yippee yay, sourdough bread and branding all have in common? They are all elements West Elementary music teacher Michael Stine has incorporated into his Cowboy Unit for second graders.

“We learn several old cowboy songs and talk about how it influences things like movie soundtracks and art. We also include an art element by creating a name for their ranch and designing a brand,” Stine said. “I make a sourdough starter for the kids to see. We feed it in music each day so that the kids can see the chemical reaction.”

Over the course of three weeks, second graders learned about the trail rides cowboys go on, what cowboys eat and how they operate a ranch. Students learned that sourdough bread was an important food for cowboys because it was a way they could bake fresh bread daily so it wouldn’t mold or dry out. And they learned that brands were very important in order to properly identify the cows. 

“We discuss the hardships of life on the trails and how it was necessary because of the transportation available at the time,” Stine said. 

The Cowboy Unit culminated with students getting some energy out by turning cream into butter and then taste testing it with sourdough bread.