Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Cotton Factory Field Trip

We had a very fun and unexpected field trip that came up rather quickly with our homeschool group. We got to go to a cotton gin factory. Which was great timing since we have learned about Eli Whitney and cotton this year. Here is a short video about how cotton is harvested and history.

This factory is outside of Oxford, Kansas which is around an hour from Wichita. Kansas only harvest only about 1% of the cotton in the US. It doesn't do to well once it gets cold and Kansas gets cold
They recommended mask for anyone with allergies in the factory as it was quite dusty with all the cotton moving so fast. Ear plugs were also passed out. Little Man has nasty allergies and Bug doesn't like loud sounds. I wish I would of grabbed a pair of ear plugs as my ears rang for awhile after we left!
 They had some cotton seedlings to show the kids.
 A cotton plant with the cotton buds.
Cotton is actually a tree if its in a extremely warm place with no chance to freeze. They said, "that if it was left to grow in some place in South America it would become a tree." You couldn't harvest it.
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 Since the factory is so loud they explained to us and showed us all the stages of the cotton process that it would go through within the factory. Then the kids learned about the different grades of cotton. The first bag is the cotton after its been harvested. Second bag is the 2nd process that separates the  lint from the seed.

The cleaned cotton or lint is what they called it.
 This is all the different byproducts of the lint. Nothing at all is wasted in the harvest. The seed becomes animal feed which is rich in oil and protein. The rest is also mixed with animal feed or fertilizer. 
 Heading into the factory-which was absolutely deafening and dusty.
 A truck just came in from the field and it was getting unloaded onto the conveyer belt.
 That's a lot of cotton. Bug told me, "Mom that would make a lot of Q tips!" Hee Hee!
 The first step was removing the sticks and such from the cotton. Now don't quote me on the exact steps because I could have forgotten and mixed up the machines.
 The lint is then cleaned. I think he said several times it is cleaned.
  This is the modern day cotton gin. Not much has changed except it is motorized. This is where the cotton is separates the cotton from the seed.The cotton comes out here.
 The cotton seed comes out at the bottom.
 Then it's made into the bails. I think 50 pounds each.
 This man was looking at me like I was crazy taking pictures. He had that look that said, really lady this is not picture worthy!
 Then it gets bagged up and pushed outside the factory.
 
A truckload of cotton bales.
Are we done yet? My kids and the group was looking bored and ready to go.
Until the tour guide told the kids to have fun climbing the mountain of fuzzy cotton seeds!
Bug didn't want to venture as far as the rest of the group so she stayed towards the bottom.
The highlight of the field trip as you can guess was the mountain of cotton seed. The kids had a blast climbing it. It looked like snow but luckily it didn't feel like it!
It was quite a mountain when you look at it from this view. The cotton seed was still pumping out from the top which you can't see from here.

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