Oregon Agriculture in the Classroom Logo
Lesson Overview
  • 90 Minutes
  • 1, 3, 4, 9
  • 6th - 12th Grade
  • State Standards:
    Math: 6.NS.2, 7.RP.2c, N-Q.2

Download PDF

Download PDF (Spanish)

Materials List

Mystery Ration Kit*
4 Escape Boxes*
6 Group Scenario Cards*
18 Box Cards*
8 3-Digit Locks*
Treat for the final box *

The Mystery Ration

Categories: Math , Kits , Spanish , Agriculture , Animals

Discover the nutrient requirements of dairy cows! Students will collaborate in teams to unlock feed examples through a series of escape boxes. As students work to unlock each escape box, they will be tasked with calculating rations using the Pearson Square method to provide a balanced meal for dairy cows to enjoy!

Part I: Watch the Rickreall Dairy Virtual Farm Field Trip
Watch the virtual field trip on our website called Rickreall Dairy – The Scoop on Cow Nutrition. This tour will provide students with background knowledge of a dairy cow’s diet and how this relates directly to their production of milk and capability of producing a wholesome nutritious product that we can enjoy!
After watching the video, use these guiding questions to transition students into the next activity.
a. Why is dairy cow nutrition an important aspect of managing a dairy farm?
b. How do dairy farmers ensure that their animals are receiving adequate nutrition?
c. When developing rations for their animals, what considerations would farmers use to determine the types of feeds that go into their animal’s ration?

Part II: Introduction to Pearson Squares

1. Distribute the The Mystery Ration Activity Worksheet to students.
2. As a class, read through the background information provided at the top of the worksheet.
3. Explain to students that today we will be acting as a dairy farmer and determining the amount of different feeds to include in our cow’s ration based on the desired rate of nutrients.
4. Using the example provided on the worksheet show students how to calculate rations using the Pearson Square method.
5. After demonstrating the Pearson Square method, have students practice this concept by completing the practice problems in Part 1 of the worksheet.
6. When students have completed the practice problems, have a few student volunteers show their work on the board to help reinforce the concepts of calculating the rations using the Pearson Square method.

Part III: The Escape Box Ration Challenge!

1. Place the escape boxes spaced out around the classroom in numerical order.
2. Divide students into 6 groups, distribute one Scenario Card to each group containing their desired nutrient rate that they will use in their Pearson Square math problems as they unlock each box.
3. Students will use Part II on their worksheet as they discover the contents of each box to do their Pearson Square math.
4. Each box will have two locks on it that students will unlock as they solve Pearson Squares. Each box will contain 6 cards and a feed example. Each group will take their designated card that’s labeled with their group letter. Then each group will solve their Pearson Square using the information on the card. On the bottom of their card it provides instructions for which number students will use to unlock the next box. Each group’s answer will be needed to unlock the locks on each box.