National Agricultural Literacy Curriculum Matrix
Search Lesson Plans & Companion Resources
Farm Animal Match
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)
boar: male pig
buck: male goat
bull: male cattle
calf: baby cattle
chick: baby chicken
cow: female cattle
doe: female goat
ewe: female sheep
foal: baby horse
hen: female chicken
kid: baby goat
lamb: baby sheep
livestock: farm animals raised with a purpose, usually for meat, milk, wool, or eggs
mare: female horse
piglet: baby pig
ram: male sheep
rooster: male chicken
sow: female pig
stallion: male horse
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
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)
- A Day in the Life of a Farmer (Book)
- A Young Shepherd (Book)
- Down on the Farm: Pigs (Book)
- Farm Animals (Book)
- Farm Animals: Chickens (Book)
- Sheep on the Farm (Book)
- The Goat Lady (Book)
- About Farm Animals Mini Kit (Kit)
- Animal Facts (Poster, Map, Infographic)
- All About Eggs (Multimedia)
- Sheep Crossing (Multimedia)
- Food and Farm Facts Booklet (Booklets & Readers)
- My American Farm (Website)
Agricultural Literacy Outcomes
Plants and Animals for Food, Fiber & Energy
- Identify animals involved in agricultural production and their uses (i.e., work, meat, dairy, eggs) (T2.K-2.b)
Education Content Standards
K-LS1: From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
K-LS1-1Use observations to describe patterns of what plants and animals (including humans) need to survive.
Common Core Connections
Reading: Anchor Standards
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.1Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
Speaking and Listening: Anchor Standards
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.1Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.2Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.
National Agricultural Literacy Curriculum Matrix (2013) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.