For Teachers

Letter to Educators



Why Study Rare Breeds?

ALBC Conservation Priorty List


~ K-2 Overview


~ 3-5 Overview



Farm Visits

First Grade Unit: ENGAGE



• define animals as living things that can move around, get food for fuel, and reproduce.
• identify animals on the farm and describe their characteristics
• recognize and understand the basic needs of animals for air, water, food, shelter, and space.
• farms often have special buildings for in raising plants and certain kinds of animals (livestock).


As with the Kindergarten Unit. The first grade unit begins with a great big engage – a field trip to a local farm! On this field trip, students observe domestic animals in their farm habitat getting their basic needs met. At the farm, zoo or museum, they make observations, take notes, and seek discover how animals' basic needs are met at a farm. They then share these findings back in the classroom.

Prior to departure, the class brainstorms what they already know, or think they know about animals' basic needs, sharing stories of individual experiences of farm animals. Students list some of the things they know about farm animals' basic needs based direct and indirect experiences.

At the farm, the teacher might ask leading questions (Socratic Method) regarding basic needs for air, food, shelter, water and space. Students are encouraged to think of other needs as well, such as the need for a purpose or job in order to be of value to the farm (and therefore be provided a place to live). Domestic animals also have a need for grooming, healthcare, protection, activity and attention.


ObservationSheet.pdf, Clip boards, pencils, science notebooks. Lunches, permission slips.



1. Depart for the farm. This is a day of great excitement. The time at the farm is meant to be open and exploratory. Keep learning demands to a minimum. The students will gather lots of information to digest back in the classroom.

2. Upon arrival at the farm, students are directed to choose one animal in particular and to observe it's home carefully. They can take notes or make sketches as they are able. They will need to be able describe what it eats, where it sleeps, how it eats, what kind of space it needs, where it goes when it rains and so forth.

3. Take along a list of leading questions focused on curriculum specific topics (determined by your state) related to (A) animal basic needs and (B) animal behaviors as they meet these needs.

Ask students:
- Where is the water?
- What do they eat?
- Where do they sleep?
- Do they lie down at night?
- Do they have a bed?
- Where do they go if it rains, is too hot or windy?
- Where do they go in the winter?
- Where do they have their babies?
- How do they stay protected from predators?
- Do they ever go inside?
- Do they take vitamins?
- Do they go to the doctor if they get sick?
- Does someone clip their nails?
- Does someone brush their hair or groom them?
- Do they brush their teeth?
- Do they have their own bedroom?
- Do they share a bowl with someone else?
- Do they share the pasture with others?
- Do they have friends?
- Do they like to be together?
- Do they have a leader?
- Do they have a family?

As mentioned in the Kindergarten unit, be careful not to turn this session into a Q/A session (or a drilling that makes the joy become drudgery). These questions are meant to scaffold the distracted and support the observant. Use with discretion, only as necessary. There is plenty of time back in the classroom for exploring what they observe on this first day. It is lots of fun just trying to figure out the animals' home, and how their needs are like ours and different from ours.

4. Request samples of feed, hay and straw for use in the classroom. Take along sealable bags and be sure to label while at the farm.



1. Ask the students to work with their parents to brainstorm a comparison of their house to the farm they visited. The parents will take notes. What about their home is similar to the farm, and what is different? Together they create a Venn Diagram with the parent recording. On one side, write what was unique at the farm. On the other write what is unique about their house. In the middle record what they have in common, focusing on items or activities that help with basic needs for both the student and the animals. Print and copy for each student: VennDiagram.pdf

2. Consider discussing and completing an example in advance of sending it home. For example, the barn had straw beds in stalls, and at their house they have a futon bed with down comforter. There are feathers at the farm, and feathers in the comforter. Both they and the animals go to sleep at night. There is water and milk for drinking in both places (both they and baby cows drink milk). The list is limited only by imagination, time and experience.


Navigating the Unit

1st - 5 E Summary
1st - Engage
1st - Explore
1st - Explain
1st - Expand
1st - Evaluate
1st - Supplement

Noah's Ark Today is property of the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy.
Copyright 2006.

American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, PO Box 477, Pittsboro, NC 27312