Visit from cows gives H.B. students a mooving learning experience

Students line up to pet Snickerdoodle, a 10-week-old calf, during a Mobile Dairy Classroom presentation at Hope View Elementary School in Huntington Beach.
(Kevin Chang / HB Independent)

A cow and its calf were milking all the attention they could get from Hope View Elementary School students Thursday morning.

The Dairy Council of California and its Mobile Dairy Classroom stopped by the Huntington Beach school to teach students the anatomy of a cow, where milk and other dairy products come from and how milk goes from farm to fridge.

But while program instructor Steve Miller was talking, the children were focused on Coco, a 3-year-old, 1,500-pound brown Swiss dairy cow who was busy eating alfalfa and occasionally turning her head and staring at the crowd.

At the end of the presentation, Miller led Snickerdoodle, Coco’s 10-week-old calf, out of a trailer for the students to pet.


The children laughed and cheered when Coco stared down Miller, shoveled hay out of the trailer with her nose and used her tongue to clean her nose.

“I would rather have a crowd that is rowdy that I have a hard time calming down than have one that won’t get into it at all,” Miller said. “The [students in] the Ocean View School District have always been good.”

Fifth-graders Torie Rudd and Elise Lindquist giggled about Miller milking Coco and squirting milk toward the students in the front row.

Elise, 10, said she learned that cows don’t like being milked roughly and that they eat and drink more than a human.

“They drink like 240 gallons of water a day, and I don’t think I even drink a gallon a day,” she said as she and Torie laughed.

Hope View Principal Carrie Haskin said the Mobile Dairy Classroom, a free program funded by the dairy industry, has visited the school three of the five years she has been there. It’s a hands-on learning experience for the children, she said.

“We get to add that real-life experience to the curriculum,” she said. “The kids go back to the classroom to draw pictures of the cows, and the experience enhances their writing.”