K - 2
Four 20-minute activities
Students will match farm animals with their young, learn the terminology for males, females, and baby animals, identify the products each farm animal produces, and learn basic facts about how animals are cared for on a farm.
- Animal Pictures
- Print the attached file "front and back." This will create pictures with the correct animal name labeled on the back. If possible print on white cardstock and laminate to facilitate use each year.
- Animal Pictures (from Activity 1)
- Student access for Quizlet. (A paper/oral review can also be used as a substitute)
- Animal Product Picture
- Print the attached pictures on single-sided paper and cut out. If possible print on white cardstock and laminate to facilitate use each year.
- Animal or Human? PowerPoint
Essential Files (maps, charts, pictures, or documents)
"Animal or Human" PowerPoint
Animal Product Pictures
calf: baby cattle
kid: baby goat
piglet: baby pig
lamb: baby sheep
ram: male sheep
chick: baby chicken
foal: baby horse
buck: male goat
boar: male pig
stallion: male horse
bull: male cattle
rooster: male chicken
hen: female chicken
ewe: female sheep
doe: female goat
sow: female pig
mare: female horse
cow: female cattle
livestock: farm animals raised with a purpose, usually for meat, milk, wool, or eggs
Did you know? (Ag Facts)
- A cow's hide, or skin, is about 1/8" thick! In comparison, the thickest areas of human skin (soles of feet and palms of hands) is only 4 millimeters thick. Cattle's thick hide helps protect them from the cold and other elements.
- Cows, sheep, and goats are called "ruminants." This means that they have a stomach with 4 compartments allowing them to gain nutrients from foods that humans cannot. In addition, the digestion process creates heat to help the animal stay warm in the winter.
Background - Agricultural Connections
Livestock are an important part of American agriculture and for the daily lives of humans. Livestock animals such as cattle, sheep, pigs, goats, and chickens provide food, fiber, and other products that we use every day. Cattle provide meat and milk to our diets. Milk and other dairy products provide calcium and protein. Beef is also a good source of protein and iron. Sheep provide meat and wool. Wool is a fiber used for fabric and yarn. Lamb meat is also rich in protein. Pigs produce bacon, sausage, and ham as well as pork chops and roasts. Goats provide both meat and milk. Goat milk is often used for specialty cheeses or to drink. The proteins in goat milk can be easier for some people to digest, particularly babies and children or those with milk allergies. Goat meat is not widely consumed in the United States, but it's actually the most widely consumed meat world-wide. Chickens provide eggs and meat to our diets.
Food products such as milk, meat, and eggs are the primary purpose of raising livestock on a farm. However, animals also provide some of the ingredients for items such as glue, plastic, paint brush bristles, cosmetics, lotions, and much more. Animals play an important role in our society.
Farm animals have specific names according to their gender and age. For example an adult female horse is called a mare and an adult male horse is called a stallion. A young female horse is called a filly while a young male horse is called a colt. Foal is a general term for a baby horse. You will find a list of animal terms in the vocabulary list of this lesson. While more terminology exists, this lesson focuses on the names of adult males, adult females, and babies.
Farm animals and humans have similar necessities of life to live and grow. Humans and animals both require food, water, and shelter. However, these life necessities are fulfilled in different ways. Humans need clean or purified water. Animals can drink from streams, ponds, and other natural water sources and generally be un-affected by microorganisms that would make a human sick. Both animals and humans require healthy food for their diet. Most farm animals thrive on feed that humans cannot digest. For example, cows, goats, and sheep have a multi-compartment stomach which allows them to break down and use the energy and nutrients found in grass and hay. These farm animals then convert their energy into food humans can eat such as meat and milk. Animals and humans both need shelter from harsh elements- heat in the cold and cool air in extreme heat. Humans regulate body temperature with their physical environment. We generally live in heated houses to protect ourselves from the cold and use blankets and sweaters to keep warm. Animals have natural defenses. Thick hair or wool on livestock provides insulation from cold temperatures. In some climates, farmers provide enclosed barns or covered areas for warmth in the cold and shade in the heat.
Interest Approach – Engagement
- Play a short game of, "Name that Animal." Provide the audio for the sounds that various farm animals make. For example, a cow mooing, a rooster crowing, and a horse whinnying. You can obtain this audio with a YouTube video or an app on an iPad or iPhone. For younger students, ask them to simply identify the animal. To challenge older students, play the game similar to "Name that Tune" and see how quickly the students can identify the correct animal.
- After the game, tell students that they will be learning about farm animals today. At the end of the lesson they will be able to:
- Match farm animals with their babies.
- Name the terms used for a male, female, and baby farm animal.
- Identify what products farm animals provide for our use.
- Identify how farm animals are cared for.
Activity 1: Who's my baby?
- Place the adult animal pictures on the board pairing the male with the female. For example, cow and bull should be together; ram and ewe should be paired, etc.
- Hold up or place the baby animal pictures for students to see. Ask for volunteers to select a baby animal picture and match the baby animal with the adult animals. Discuss each animal match after the match is made. Ask the student what clues they used to match the baby to the parents. Make a list of similarities that can be seen among parents and offspring. For example adult and baby cattle have 4 legs, their ears and eyes look the same, and they have a similar coat (hair) texture. After you have identified similarities, ask students what is different about the baby. Students may notice that the calf's coat pattern, or it's "spots" are different. List the similarities and differences under each animal species.
- Help students conclude that baby animals are similar to their parents, but they are not exactly identical.
Activity 2: Animal Names
- Write the words, "Mother," "Father," "Daughter," and "Son" on the board. Explain to your students that these words are used to describe the people within a family. A mother and daughter are females. A father and son are males. A mother and father are parents. A son and daughter are children.
- Farm animals have specific names too. Tell your students that they are going to learn the names used for a male (father), female (mother), and baby animal on a farm.
- Adding one row or column at a time, place the animal pictures on the board and label the correct name underneath. Use the vocabulary section of the lesson or the label printed on the back of the picture for assistance. As you add each picture and label it's name, have students say the word out loud.
- Use one or both of the following ideas to help students memorize words and assess their learning:
- Access the Farm Animal Names Quizlet. If students have access to computers or ipads, they can play numerous learning games associated with these vocabulary words. Quizlet generates flash cards, spelling lists, and matching games. If individual access cannot be given to each student, it can be projected on a screen or smartboard and played as a class. Quizlets can also be printed and flash cards or matching games can be played with the printed version.
- Quiz students orally. What is the name of a male chicken? Answer-"Rooster." What is the name of a baby goat? Answer-"Kid." Continue asking questions for each species and randomly erase some of the names as you go to increase difficulty level until all or most of the words have been erased and students can recall the correct words.
Activity 3: Animal Products
- Ask for student volunteers to tell you what they ate for dinner last night. Make a list on the board of a few of their responses. Circle the food items that were produced by animals. For example: meat, milk, eggs, dairy products, etc. Ask students if they know where these products came from. Help students understand that many healthy foods are produced by farm animals.
- Place 1 picture on the board to represent each livestock species. For this section of the lesson, omit the horse. (Horses are used for recreation in the United States, not as a food source.)
- Print and cut out the Animal Product Pictures. Shuffle them and randomly pass one card out to ten students in your class.
- Go through the animal species one by one and ask your students, "Who has a product that was produced by a [chicken?] Allow students to guess if they do not know the correct answers. When the students holding the "Egg" and "Chicken" pictures raise their hand, have them place the card underneath the picture of the chicken on the board. Continue this process until all of the pictures are correctly placed underneath the animal species that produced it.
- Cattle: Meat and milk
- Pigs: Meat (Sausage, Bacon, Ham, etc)
- Sheep: Meat and wool
- Goats: Meat and milk
- Chickens: Eggs and chicken meat
Activity 4: Caring for Farm Animals
- Ask your students what kind of things they need to live and stay healthy. Students should recognize and list items such as food, water, shelter, etc.
- Students have just learned a few of the many products animals provide to humans. It is our responsibility to take good care of our animals. Ask students, "What things do animals need to live and stay healthy?" Students should recognize similar needs such as food, water, and shelter. Animals have the same basic necessities of life. However, they are fulfilled in different ways. For example, people live in heated houses to stay warm in cold weather. Some animals do live in barns or other shelters, but animals have other means of staying warm. Sheep have a thick coat of wool, cattle have thick hair, and chickens have feathers to keep their bodies warm. Open up the attached Animal or Human PowerPoint. Each slide will show a picture of a necessity of life. Instruct students to determine if the necessity is for a human (like them) or for a farm animal. If the necessity is for a human, they should point to their LEFT. If the necessity is for a farm animal, they should point to their right. (Their hand signals will follow the direction of the pictures on the PowerPoint as it is projected on the screen.) Proceed through each of the 10 slides. Explain facts as you proceed through the slides using the information found in the Background Agricultural Connections section of this lesson plan.
- Conclude and summarize that animals and humans have similar needs to survive and to be healthy. However, the needs are provided in different ways.
Concept Elaboration and Evaluation
After conducting these activities, review and summarize the following key concepts:
- Animals such as cows, sheep, pigs, and chickens provide meat, milk, and eggs to eat.
- Just like humans, animals need air, water, shelter, and food to live.
- Animals and humans have the same necessities of life. However, they are fulfilled in different ways.
- As a class, read the book, "Who Grows Up on the Farm?" by Theresa Longenecker.
- If possible, provide a field trip to a local farm. Reinforce what students have learned in the classroom helping students to recognize the names of various farm animals, what products they produce, and what they need to be healthy.
- As a follow-up lesson, teach Animal Life Cycles to further students' knowledge of what farm animals need to survive and the life cycle of farm animals.
Suggested Companion Resources
Farm Pop-ups (Activity)
The Goat Lady (Book)
Farm Animals: Chickens (Book)
A Young Shepherd (Book)
A Day in the Life of a Farmer (Book)
Farm Animals (Book)
Sheep on the Farm (Book)
Down on the Farm: Pigs (Book)
About Farm Animals Mini Kit (Kit)
Animal Facts (Poster, Map, Infographic)
Sheep Crossing (Multimedia)
All About Eggs (Multimedia)
Food and Farm Facts Booklet (Booklets & Readers)
My American Farm (Website)
Original idea submitted by Cassie Hackman at Chickasaw County Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom.
National Agriculture in the Classroom