For Teachers

Letter to Educators



Why Study Rare Breeds?

ALBC Conservation Priorty List


~ K-2 Overview


~ 3-5 Overview



Farm Visits



Play animal families with all species not just birds, allowing the students to become familiar with the names of father, mother and offspring as an animal family. Use to build vocabulary. Needed: AnNames.pdf.


Given the average of 7 out of 10 Dominique chickens hatch from the McMurray Hatchery, how many of our eggs will hatch? Introducing working with percentages and making guesses.


1. Assign student pairs or teams, to each ask a question about inherited versus learned characteristics. The question should be simple enough to answer through direct observation in a short amount of time while at the farm. Have them record their question and their expectations prior to heading into the field. For ideas, InheritEnviro.pdf

2. At the farm, students compare what they expected with what they see. They might have questions for the farm manager about that they saw versus what they expected. Students also take other general notes about things they observe in terms of behavior, characteristics or other state-specific topics. These other observations might lead to further questions

3. Upon returning to the classroom, students write up or present what they saw versus what they expected to see. Encourage them to ask more questions based on what they learned. Discuss the process of science wherein we ask questions, make observations, and verify what we thought or form new ideas that lead to new questions.


Family Traits Card Game: get into groups by species (8-10 sheep, 8-10 horses, 8-10 cattle or pigs). Once in species groups, divide again into families (breeds). Why do you think you are in the same family? (They look alike. ) Animals (members) from the same family often have traits in common.
Fill in as a class using overhead projector.

Do on-line research about one rare breed. Find information about the animal, focus on the specifics of its life cycle such as gestation period, how long before it walks or can fend for itself, time to adulthood, lifespan. Compare this breed with another breed which is more common and not considered rare. For example, compare the Milking Devon cow with the Holstein.


Literacy and Social Studies (Communities) Connections

Explain to students that writing letters is very helpful to everyone and an effective way to contribute in society and your local community. Letters help raising awareness and promote efforts others are making toward a cause, such as the survival of rare breeds. By writing a good letter, they will contribute to the effort to save rare breeds. Their letters will help the organization they are writing to continue the work they are doing. Because adults trust young people to speak their minds clearly, student's words are very powerful. Adults are very interested in what you have to say.

1. Descriptive Writing: Write a letter to the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy (ALBC), the only national organization devoted to saving rare breed farm animals in danger of extinction. Share what you enjoyed learning and what you experienced in your study of rare breed animals. They would love to hear from you! And, they can use your letters to secure further funding for their work.

2. Newspaper Article: As a class, write an article about your field trip and send a photo to the local newspaper.

3. Letter of Persuasion: Write a class letter of persuasion to the school board about the impact of the trip on the students' ideas about farms and farm animals. This will help other students go on a similar trip.

4. Letter of Thanks: As a class, write a persuasive letter to the farm which hosted you on the field trip. Thank them for the visit, and tell them what you think about the importance of their work saving rare breeds. Describe some of the things you learned versus what you expected, and encourage the farm staff to continue sharing the farm with more students. They can use your letters to secure further funding for their efforts and encourage others to come for field trips.

5. Make a real library book: Work in teams to create a chapter book (one chapter per team) about rare breeds. Bind the book. You might get a volunteer parent or artist to work with the class on laying out the book in a publishing software, and creating a hard-cover binding. One town's librarian added a hard-bound book created and published by the students to the town's local collection, and even assigned it an ISBN number! The newspaper came and took pictures of the presentation of the new book. Students visited the library with their parents and looked up their own book. New community ties formed and the students felt very accomplished.

6. Create a multimedia project including several technology components such as digital photography, adding to a class website, creating a slideshow and sharing the field trip virtually with another class, or making a class book telling the story of the farm. Involve your school's Technical Specialist if available.

Navigating the Unit

2nd - 5 E Summary
2nd - Engage
2nd - Explore
2nd - Explain
2nd - Expand
2nd - Evaluate
2nd - Supplement
2nd - Embryology Project

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

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