Groovy Sheep

When warm is the weather sheep lose their sweater. 

Once a year all my sheep get haircuts. We call this process sheering. Just like with people, haircuts don’t hurt and the hair will grow back. We call sheep hair wool.

This sheep is half way through a hand shearing. She was born with black hair but the sun naturally bleaches her wool to a brown color

A photograph of wool from a sheep that has been sheared.

The wool is collected and then fleeced which means sticks or grass is removed and any dirty parts are cut off. My sheep like to get dirty so this takes a long time.

Wool that this been fleeced.

Lanolin is an oil that sheep naturally make to protect their skin and wool.

The next step is cleaning the wool. Check out this wool soaking in water. When dirt and lanolin are removed it is called scouring the wool. 

Wool in the process of being scoured.

After wool is fleeced ,scoured and dried, it is then carded or combed so all the hairs go the same direction. This part can be really fun.

Wool being carded.

The finished product is a soft, fluffy roving

People use roving to make felted products and yarn. 

Wool roving in a basket

Lots of things can be made out of wool like clothing, hats and blankets. Wool is extra groovy because it can keep you cool on warm days and warm on cool days.

For more challenging play try a monthly-themed Groovy Lab in a BoxThere is no better way to educate your STEMists than to keep their minds screen-free, design learning to create and solve, through the engineering design process and STEM-related activities. Furthermore, our monthly box activates thinking, questioning, inquiring and original creation as we guide children through scientific inquiry and engineering design process.

For more about wool and how you can make felted soap with wool roving check out our “Soap It Up” box for a Lesson in Saponification. During your ENGINEERING DESIGN CHALLENGE you will investigate soap and chemical compounds, pH and surfactants, bacteria and germs, surface tension, soapberries, wool, lanolin, entrepreneurship, and much, much, more.

A groovy approach to hands-on Next Generation Science Standards,  design based learning… Groovy Lab in a Box!

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