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Oklahoma Agriculture in the Classroom



Hundreds Day: Counting Hay Bales and Sheep


Celebrate the hundredth day of the school year with:

"It's one of the miracles of nature that this empty-looking land can be of such great use, that cattle can convert its grasses to meat and milk."
- Kathleen Norris, Dakota, A Spiritual Geography

Hundreds to count
  • 100 kernels of popcorn
  • 100 pencils
  • 100 kernels of wheat
  • 100 steps (Have students check their heart rates before and after taking 100 steps.)
  • 100 heart beats
  • 100 peanuts
  • 100 pecans
Repeated Addition Activity
  1. Using objects and paper cups, students will find the numerical equivalent to 100 in base 5, 10, 20, 25 and 50. (Grades 3-4)
  2. Using objects and paper cups, students will find the numerical equivalent to 100 with prime numbers from 2 to 50. (Grades 5-6)
Counting Sheep
In order to keep accurate records, and to prevent sheep from straying, shepherds had to perform frequent head-counts of their flocks. Dating back at least to the medieval period, and continuing to the present in some areas, farms were granted access to common grazing land. To prevent overgrazing, it was necessary for each farm to keep accurate, updated head counts. Generally a count was the first action performed in the morning and the last action performed at night. A count was made after moving the sheep from one pasture to another, and after any operation involving the sheep, such as shearing, foot-trimming, etc.
Before the Industrial Revolution, shepherds in England, Scotland and Wales used their own numbering system for counting their sheep, with counting words to 20, but no higher. For every 20 sheep the shepherd would place a mark on the ground, move his hands to another mark on the crook or drop a pebble in his pocket. Twenty sheep was a score. (5 score sheep = 100)
  1. Divide students into groups, and provide each group with a bowl of plain popcorn.
  2. Tell students that the popcorn represents sheep.
  3. Students will design their own systems for keeping count similar to the systems described above used by ancient shepherds (tally marks, knots on a string, pebbles, etc.)
  4. Students will count their "sheep" first by fives, then by tens, and then by twenties, using the systems they have designed.
  5. Students will multiply to find the total number of sheep for each group and for the class.
  6. If each group is allowed to graze 100 sheep, how many sheep must be sold?
  7. Read the Celtic counting words below to the class. Pay attention to the rhythm. Students will count their "sheep" as you read the words and use their markers to keep track of each score (20) of sheep.
  8. Students will make up their own counting words, from one to twenty.
  9. Students will research to find counting words in other languages.
Celtic Counting Words

1. yan, 2. tan, 3. tethera, 4. pethera, 5. pip, 6. sethera, 7. lethera, 8. hovera, 9. covera, 10. dik. 11. yan-a-dik, 12. tan-a-dik, 13. tethera-dik, 14. pethera-dik, 15. bumfit, 16. yan-a-bumfit, 17. tan-a-bumfit, 18. tethera-bumfit, 19. pethera-fumfit, 20. figgot (Source: Wikipedia)

Chorus from Lincolnshire Farmer (a sheep counting song)
Yan, tan tethera, tethera, pethera, pip.
Yon owd ewe's far-welted, and this ewe's got a limp
Sethera, methera, hovera, and covera up to dik,
Aye, we can deal wi' 'em all, and wheer's me crook and stick?
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    Smart Board Acitivity page
  • Ernie Counting Sheep (Sesame Street)
Hay Field
Geisert, Bonnie, Haystack, Houghton Mifflin, 2003. (Grades K-3)
Beginning with details about mowing, drying and tromping hay, the narrative moves on to explain the haystack's important purposes: to provide food, and a shelter from the wind for cows during the winter; during warmer weather, to serve as a resting and feeding place for pigs. In return, the animals' manure is used as fertilizer for the next year's hay, thus continuing the cycle.
Gleason, Carrie, The Biography of Wool (How Did That Get Here?), Crabtree, 2007. (Grades 4-6)
The story of one of the world's first fibers, shorn from sheep, carded into wool since as early as 1500 BC. Young readers will learn the introduction of mass manufactured clothing during the Industrial Revolution and how wool and textiles are produced today.
Green, Emily, Farm Animals: Sheep, Bellweather, 2007. (Grades K-2)
Early reader provides very basic information about sheep, including sheep shearing. Includes a glossary.
Lyon, George Ella, Weaving the Rainbow, Atheneum/Richard Jackson, 2004. (Grades PreK-2)
A young woman raises sheep, shears them, cards and spins the wool, dyes the yarn, and weaves it at a loom. Terms like "yearling," "skein," "warp," "weft," "shuttle," and "treadles" are understandable in context and bring richness to the text. Words and illustrations complement each other in evoking the essence of creating art and in portraying the lush countryside. In her skillfully composed watercolor artwork, Anderson directs readers' eyes and shows them what to focus on. The paintings, with their dose of impressionism, effectively depict textures, but they can also suggest steam or wind. The final spread reveals what the woman is weaving: a picture of her sheep in their pasture, to which an illustration on the dedication page alluded earlier.
Scotton, Rob, Russell the Sheep, Harper Collins, 2005. (PreK-2)
Russell can't sleep. While the other sheep are dozing off, he ponders the problem of insomnia. When nothing works, he tries counting things. He starts with his feet, and then moves on to the stars. Finally, he counts sheep. Russell nods off just as the new day dawns and the others awaken.
Haymaking in Brittany
Haymaking in Brittany, 1888 by Paul Gauguin