Agricultural Literacy Curriculum Matrix
Farm Animal Match
K - 2
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.
Four 20-minute activities
Interest Approach — Engagement:
- Farm animal sounds audio
Activity 1: Who's My Baby
- Animal Pictures (Print the "front and back." This will create pictures with the correct animal name labeled on the back.)
Activity 2: Animal Names
- Animal Pictures
- Student access for Quizlet. (A paper/oral review can also be used as a substitute)
Activity 3: Animal Products
- Animal Product Pictures (Print on single-sided paper and cut out.)
Activity 4: Caring for Farm Animals
- Animal or Human? PowerPoint Slides
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: an adult 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. The thick hide helps protect cattle from the cold and other elements.
- Cows, sheep, and goats are called "ruminants." This means that they have a stomach with four 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 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 a tablet or smartphone. 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 the students that they will be learning about farm animals. 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 the 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, the cow and bull should be together, the 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 which clues they used to match the baby to the parents. Make a list of similarities that can be seen among the parents and their offspring. For example, adult and baby cattle have four legs, their ears and eyes look the same, and they have a similar coat (hair) texture. After you have identified similarities, ask the students what is different about the baby. Students may notice that the calf's coat pattern, or its "spots," are different. List the similarities and differences under each animal species.
- Help the 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 its name, have the 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 tablets, they can play numerous learning games associated with these 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 as flash cards, or matching games can be played with the printed version.
- Quiz students orally. "What is the name of a male chicken?" (Rooster) "What is the name of a baby goat?" (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 the students if they know where these products came from. Help the students understand that many healthy foods are produced by farm animals.
- Place one 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 the students to guess if they do not know the correct answers. When the students holding the "Egg" and "Chicken" pictures raise their hands, have them place the cards 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 kinds of things they need to live and stay healthy. Students should recognize and list items such as food, water, shelter, etc.
- The students have learned a few of the many products animals provide to humans in Activity 3. Explain that it is our responsibility to take good care of our animals. Ask the students, "What do animals need to live and stay healthy?" The students should recognize needs such as food, water, air, 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 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 Slides. Each slide will show a picture of a necessity of life. Instruct the 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 ten slides. Explain facts as you proceed through the slides using the information found in the Background Agricultural Connections.
- 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 by helping them to recognize the names of various farm animals, what products they produce, and what they need to be healthy.
Use the Animal Life Cycles lesson as a follow-up to further students' knowledge of what farm animals need to survive and the life cycle of farm animals.
Play the My American Farm interactive game Memory Match.
Original idea submitted by Cassie Hackman at Chickasaw County Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom.
Suggested Companion Resources
- Farm Pop-Ups
- A Day in the Life of a Farmer
- A Young Shepherd
- Barn at Night
- Down on the Farm: Pigs
- Farm Animals
- Farm Animals: Chickens
- My Family's Farm Book Series
- Pigs & Pork in the Story of Agriculture
- Pigs: An A to Z Book
- Sheep on the Farm
- The Goat Lady
- The Year at Maple Hill Farm
- Pork Ag Mag
- About Farm Animals Mini Kit
- Animal Facts
- Livestock Cards
- All About Eggs
- Sheep Crossing
- Food and Farm Facts Booklet
- My American Farm
National Agriculture in the Classroom
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