Scrambled States: West Virginia and Wyoming – 6/4


It’s the second to last day on our journey across the United States and today we are learning about two W states!  Learn about Wyoming’s barley and West Virginia’s hay with today’s activities!


More than 91% of land in Wyoming is classified as rural, making it perfect for growing various crops!  Wyoming’s second most valuable commodity is a grain crop called barley, which is a member of the grass family. Wyoming has around 90,000 acres of barley fields producing 5-7million bushels each year. Barley is a grain that is used for many things, such as breads, soups, stews, feedstock, and various health products!

Your read aloud today is about Pearl Barley and Charlie Parsley and their unique friendship!  Follow along to “Pearl Barley and Charlie Parsley” by Aaron Blabey.

Get up and active with today’s activity!  Learn the  “Oats and Beans and Barley Grow” Song!  Can you make up your own dance to the song?

Learn more about Wyoming here!


“Hay is for horses, straw is cheaper, grass is free.  Buy a farm and you get all three!”  We’ve all heard all, or at least part, of that historical phrase, but there is truth to it!  Head on over to West Virginia where they grow over 500,000 acres of hay that produces close to 900,000 tons each year!  No wonder hay is the #1 crop of West Virginia!  The hay grown is to feed livestock for when pastures are not available due to seasonal or access limitations.  

First, check out this video that shows the different stages of hay farming in West Virginia!

Around 95% of West Virginia farms are family-owned, which is the highest in the U.S.!  You are taking on the role of a hay farmer and graphing data to observe the changes in hay production in Illinois over the last 70 years! 

Learn more about West Virginia here!


Baling hay may look easy, but this is a critical part of the process to provide healthy, nutritious hay for livestock!

If the grass dries out too much the nutrients are lost.  If the hay does not dry out enough, mold could grow in the bales, causing it to be unusable.  So leaving it in the field may cost you in the end.  Storing hay in a barn maintains better quality, exposes hay to less moisture, maximizes nutritional value, decreases likeliness to spoil, and cuts costs. 

Your activity today is to design and build a hay barn that will be used to store 4′ x 4′ round bales of hay!  Your tractor to stack your hay can only stack 2 bales high.  You barn must maximize barn space and fit as many 4′ x 4′ hay bales as possible!  Make sure you measure your interior volume (length x width x height).  You can use the conversion of 1inch = 1 foot if you are short on space! To make things more challenging, try only using 50 popsicle sticks and 2 pieces of 9″ x 12″ construction paper!  If you don’t have those materials, get creative! 

Here are some questions to consider during the design phase (before building!):

  • How many sides should the barn have?
  • How many stacks of bales will your barn be able to hold? (use the volume of a cylinder and the volume of your barn to figure this out)
  • Is your barn accessible to a tractor?
  • Where are the doors to your barn? 

Something for Everyone

Barley water is a refreshing drink made in different parts of the world!  It also has some great health benefits! 

Assessment and Extended Response


  1. How many acres of barley are grown in Wyoming? (Around 90,000 acres)
  2. What is barley used for? (Breads, soups, stews, feed for livestock, and various beauty products)

*What does “rural” mean?


  1. How many tons of hay does West Virginia produce each year? (Close to 900,000 tons each year)
  2. Why do farmers grow hay? (To feed their livestock when conditions won’t allow the livestock to graze in the pasture.  Drought, wintertime, and accessibility would affect grazing conditions)

*What is the difference between hay and straw?  Once you do your research, explain what the “Hay is for horses…” phrase from above means.

*Why is it important for farmers to collect, graph, and analyze data on acres and production of crop?

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