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Winter on the Farm

January 19 – February 12: Use simple machines to cut, lift, and store blocks of ice – and find out why ice harvesting was such an important industry at the turn of the 20th century. During this hands-on, science-packed program, students will use ice harvested from the pond to fuel an ice box, and help cut firewood to power the stoves and fireplaces that keep the farm family warm through the winter. A visit to the barnyard further teaches participants about the all-important tasks of caring for the animals, no matter the season. At the end of your visit, everyone can pick up instructions for two hands-on activities to do at home: ice cream making and quilting!

Program Objectives

After participating in an 1890-1910 ice harvest, making ice cream and sewing quilt squares together, students will understand:

  • How people take advantage of the seasons to meet their year-round needs
  • How simple machines make tasks easier
  • The unique properties of water
  • How milk is transformed into ice cream
  • That quilts not only keep us warm, they keep our memories and tell a story


Essential Questions

  • What was the process of procuring ice in the 1900s?
  • How do simple machines help in the process of harvesting ice?
  • How can insulation be used to keep things cold and to keep things warm?
  • How does melting ice help make cream freeze?


Relevant Curricula

Next Generation Science Standards: PS1.A Structure and Properties of Matter | PS2.A Forces and Motion | PS3.B Conservation of Energy and Energy Transfer | PS3.C Relationship Between Energy and Forces | PS3.D Energy in Chemical Processes and Everyday Life

NJ Science Standards: 5.1A Understand Scientific Explanations | 5.2B Changes in Matter | 5.2E Forces and Motion | 5.3B Matter and Energy Transformations | 5.4G Biogeochemical Cycles

NJ Social Studies Standards: 6.1B Geography, People and the Environment | 6.1C Economics, Innovation and Technology | 6.1D History, Culture and Perspectives


Cost & Scheduling

$10 per person for children ages 1+ and adults (including parents & teachers)
– Groups of 5–15 (Scholarships are available for certain programs.)

On-Site Programs

Virtual Programs


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Howell Farm is owned by the County of Mercer and operated by the Mercer County Park Commission

Brian M. Hughes, County Executive | Aaron T. Watson, Executive Director

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