Cattle Ranch– area of land where cows can graze and live
Cowboy– a person who takes care of horses and cow
Brand- a symbol used to mark ownership of an animal
Ear Tag– a plastic or metal object used to identify an animal
Rodeo- a contest where cowgirls or cowboys show their skills are riding bucking animals or roping
Barrel Racing- a race where a person rides a horse in a clover leaf pattern as fast as they can around 3 barrels
Bronc Riding- a rodeo competition that involves the participant riding a bucking horse while sitting in a saddle
Pole Bending– a race where a person rides a horse in a weaving pattern around 6 poles as fast as possible
INFR– Indian National Finals Rodeo
What’s Your Brand? Activity
-Adapted from “National Agriculture in the Classroom” curriculum
- Read Decoding the Range: The Secret Language of Cattle Branding Smithsonian web page
- Watch the History of Branding: Irons in the Fire video as resources to discuss cattle branding with your students.
- Discuss how cattle brands are designed and what makes them different from one another (placement on the animal as well as design).
Activity: Making a Brand
- Objective: Have your students create and design their own brands using pipe cleaners.
- Distribute two pipe cleaners per student.
- Explain that brands cannot be complicated because they are made out of a piece of metal.
- Have students bend pipe cleaners into their own brand using the following rules:
- Brands are read left to right, top to bottom, and outside to inside.
- Letters and numbers represent those actual letters and numbers.
- Letters are always capital letters.
- A letter laid on its side is called a “lazy” letter.
- An upside down letter is read as “crazy.”
- A backwards letter is read as “reverse.”
- M and W cannot be used upside down because they would look like each other.
- A cursive letter that could be written without lifting up the pencil is read as “running.”
- Pictures can be used such as quarter moon, half moon, sun, diamond, triangle, heart and #.
- — is read as “bar,” _____ is read as “rail,” and / is read as “slash.”
- You can put a number or letter in a box.
- Students can test their brand by dipping the brand in paint and stamping it on a blank piece of paper.
Extension: Balloon Brand Roundup
- After students complete Activity 3, they will be responsible for “branding” their own “cattle.”
- Separate students into ten families and provide each family with ten cattle (balloons which they should blow up) and one permanent marker.
- Instruct the students to choose one brand per family and apply it to each of their cattle by tracing their pipe cleaner brand with the permanent marker.
- Collect all the balloons in a trashbag. Mix the balloons up in the bag.
- Explain that all families will have their cattle to graze in one area that you have designated as open range.
- Release the cattle by dumping the balloons out in the designated area. Walk through the cattle to thoroughly mix them up.
- Have the students round up their cattle.
- Discuss the importance of branding and ask students how they would find their cattle if they didn’t have brands.
- Have a second roundup, but this time keep a permanent marker for yourself as a “running iron.” Change some students’ brands to your own so that when they go to round up their cattle they are missing some—cattle that you have rustled and now get to sell at the marketplace.
- Discuss with the students the importance of the brand and the role of cattle rustlers. Discuss the loss in revenue caused by cattle rustlers and how the students feel about rustlers.