A Barn, Cows and Snow-Science Fiction

This is a great lesson for addressing farm life, practicing dialogue and writing Science Fiction.

cows up close with snow

Image by hobbyboy from Pixabay

It’s a fun lesson because ANYTHING can happen. Here’s the story line: It’s winter time. There’s a problem on the farm and the cows discover a super power that solves it.

cows in a field of snow

Image by Yvonne Huijbens from Pixabay

Common Core State Standards

NOTE:  This lesson can address the following Common Core State Standards:  CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.K.3, W.1.3, W.2.3, W.3.3, W.3.3.A, W.3.3.B, W.3.3.C, W.3.3.D, W.4.3, W.4.3.A, W.4.3.B, W.4.3.C, W.4.3.D, W.4.3.E, W.5.3, W.5.3.A, W.5.3.B, W.5.3.C, W.5.3.D, W.5.3.E, L.K.2, L.1.2, L.2.2, L.3.2, L.3.2.C, L.4.2, L.4.2.B and L.5.2.


To get a full understanding on how I conduct each writing lesson you may want to read the Writing Prompts Introduction post.  The lesson outlined below (and all other prompts posted) will make more sense and be easier to follow and use.  Here’s the lined paper I use for Grades K-2 and Grades 2-7

Tell the Story Line

First, tell the story line to your writers: “It’s a snow day. There’s a problem on the farm. The cows discover a super power and use it to solve the problem.”


Second, brainstorm farm problems. Examples include:

  • too much snow/no grass
  • illness/starvation
  • barn collapses
  • thieves/hunters
  • a bobcat/snakes
  • dairy cows are tired of being milked

Third, brainstorm super powers that the cows can have. Here are a few to get you started:

  • A cow’s spots turn sunshine/blinding yellow
  • Its spots turn yellow and hot and melt the snow
  • The cows can shoot corn/kernels
  • etc.

Show the 5 Sections

  • Dialogue
  • Characters/Problem
  • Super Power
  • Action/Reaction
  • Solution/Conclusion

As mentioned in my writing prompts introduction:  K-1st Graders are encouraged to write 1 sentence for each section, 2nd Graders 2 sentences, 3rd Graders 3 sentences and so on.


Guide the students through the following steps.  They are free to use their own words.  Remind them that ANYTHING can happen in their story as long as they follow the steps to keep their story organized.  There is a simple K-1st example in italics for your own guidance.


Begin the story with a conversation.

                        “I’m stuck!” one cow said.

NOTE:  If you want your student(s) to practice punctuating dialogue, start off slow.  Verbalize the following steps for your writers:

  1. First, write the opening quotation marks.
  2. Second, write what the character is saying.  Begin the sentence with a capital letter.
  3. Third, finish the sentences with a ?, ! or comma.
  4. Fourth write the closing quotation marks.
  5. Write who said it.
  6. introduce the characters and describe the problem. 


Introduce the characters and describe the problem.

            The cows were outside. It snowed all night.

Super Power

Write about a cow, or the cows, suddenly having a super power.

            WOOSH!  All of a sudden, one cow had yellow spots.  They were hot.


Write about what the other characters did or said, or what happened next.

            The spots melted the snow.   

Showing vs. Telling Feelings

NOTE:  If you are working with older students, this is a good time to encourage them to SHOW the reactions and feelings by describing in detail the character’s actions.

For example, if a character is brave, a student can write:

            The cow didn’t hesitate.  He confronted the puma.  He pointed his bright blazing    spots at the puma until the puma couldn’t stand it anymore and ran away.


Write about how the problem gets solved and any thoughts for the future.

            The cow that was stuck walked back to the barn.

Print the Lesson


As soon as the students are done writing, they can complete a simple art accent around their border. When I taught this lesson last January, I hung the following art accent samples. The kids ran with it creating their own ideas!

Cow spots around the border of the story

For the first sample, I simply used a marker to color in black cow spots.

A red barn with spots of white snow around the border of the story

I colored a red barn for the second sample. Students can use brown or black marker to draw the stripes showing the wood and barn door. I finished the accent using a q-tip and white acrylic paint to dot snow on the barn.

Student Samples

Student's sample, red barn art accent
Student sample, bright yellow spots
2nd Grader
Student's sample, brown spots
5th Grader


Correct the Paragraph

Students correcting a paragraph

Quotation Scramblers

Instead of Said-A to Z