For Teachers

Letter to Educators



Why Study Rare Breeds?

ALBC Conservation Priorty List


~ K-2 Overview


~ 3-5 Overview



Farm Visits




Students get into groups by making sounds and then sharing the names of the family members, as they try to determine who's who, and use the vocabulary words for describing themselves (as farm animals). Animal Families (along with it's vocabulary for reports) is a fun way to begin the unit and engage students. The activity gives students a gender and age-specific vocabulary of names for the animals so that students can discuss them more specifically when answering the questions about how the animals live and what makes them unique. The names are helpful as students begin to describe unique traits, such as a "hen" (versus chicken) with good mothering ability, or a "ram" (versus sheep) with curly horns.



Paper and crayons, pencils, or markers, AnFamilies.pdf¨




1. Print the AnFamilies.pdf and laminate. You will have the words for male, female, and baby of each species. Hand them out privately to students Hand out one name per student of a family set. Pass out as many families as possible, rather than random individuals. In other words, adjust your word choices in order to fit the number of students and so that there is a group of each species, even if this means leaving some of the species out. You may include a number of chicks, ducklings, goslings, poults, and piglets, as these species produce multiple offspring at one time. You can have twin lambs and kids as well.

2. Students use their animal sounds (and motions if you want) to find others who are in their "families". Have students make the sound of their animal until they find each other in the room. Once all families are assembled, they stop making sounds and study the names. The group that gathers itself together first is the winner.

3. Use the animal families chart as an overhead, handout or wall chart (copy or print animal families at 300% or greater) to display for students the words that describe each farm animal species. If you copy it onto a transparency, you might let the students fill in their own worksheet. Have the student family groups refer to the chart as they introduce themselves. Say the words out loud to become familiar with them.

4. Students who know animal names in Spanish, French, or other languages may add them to a class chart.

5. Math extension: These words suggest a variety of games, such as sorting, matching, crossword puzzles, word searches, missing letters, etc. Have the students solve puzzles or write puzzles for others to solve.

6. Literature extension: Students can read poems aloud, such as "The Turkey", "The Poultries", "The Pig", "The Lamb", by Ogden Nash; "The Purple Cowî by Gelett Burgess; and other light verse. Students can write rhymes, poems, songs, or puzzles using some of the new words. A good source of poetry is The Golden Book of Fun and Nonsense, edited by Louis Untemeyer (Western Publishing Company, 1970).



1. Students view and hear the slide show part two which describes breeds.

2. Discuss/describe the importance of breeds. Ask the students, "What is a breed?" Let the class discuss the concept of breeds based on what they know and what they learned from the slide program. Most of the domestic species are divided into many distinct breeds. Dogs and horses are good examples of domestic species with many and varied breeds, and they are species the students may have had experience with. Work towards a definition of a breed that the class can understand.

3. Books on breeds of horses, dogs, or other species and internet access for independent research projects on a specific breed.



1. Show supplemental slide set 2 to illustrate 8 breeds of geese. Have the students observe the images of geese, pointing out what these birds have in common: general body shape, head shape, bill, feet, feathers, etc.

2. Show the images again and have the students describe what makes each breed distinctive. Some suggestions are listed below. (More information about these breeds see pp. 11-13 of Alphabetical Introduction to the Breeds (PDF)).

2A. Brown Chinese geese (tall, slender body with very long neck, knob on the top of the head, brownish gray color with a black stripe)

2B. Brown African geese (heavy body, dewlap on the front of the neck, knob on top of the head, brownish gray color with a black stripe)

2C. Pilgrim geese (medium size body, with somewhat short neck; males are white and females are gray; orange bills and feet)

2D. American Buff geese (similar body shape to Pilgrim, but a little heavier; apricot and white-tipped feathers; orange bills and feet)

2E. Pomeranian geese (buff and white "saddleback" pattern, with pinkish red bills and reddish orange legs; chunky body)

2F. Sebastopol geese (long, soft, curly feathers, medium size, orange bills and feet)

2G. Canada geese (strong and athletic bodies; long necks and legs; black bills, heads, necks, legs and feet; grayish brown bodies)

2H. Egyptian goose (small size body with long legs and distinctive coloration)

3. The goal of this exercise is to illustrate how breeds represent diversity within a farm animal species. Geese are used as the example because of the diversity among breeds is more easily observed than that which occurs in many of the other species.

To be completely accurate, it should be noted that domestic geese are actually classified taxonomically as two species: Anser anser (descended from European graylag type and including Pilgrim, Buff, Pomeranian and Sebastopol) and Anser cygnoides (descended from wild Chinese types and including Chinese and African). These two species are closely related and produce fertile offspring. The slide set also includes two semi-domesticated relatives of domestic geese, the Canada goose (Branta canadensis) and the Egyptian goose (Alopochen aegyptiacus).



Behavior Studies at the farm


Venn Diagram: wild relative and domestic cousin. Create a Venn diagram to compare and contrast a wild and a domestic animal. How are the horns used similarly? How is their purpose different? What do the horns have in common? What makes them unique?



Literature and Technology extension and assessment: Students go online look up one example of a horned animal and read more about animal adaptations. Some class members choose a farm animal with horns and report on that animal (e. g. goat, sheep, cattle) while other individuals choose a wild animal with horns. Students compare and contrast what they learn in an all-class discussion. Individuals create a Venn diagram to compare and contrast a wild and a domestic animal. How are the horns used similarly? How is their purpose different? What do the horns have in common? What makes them unique?

Sites of interest:

http://www. ultimateungulate. com/
http://animaldiversity. ummz. umich. edu
http://www. whozoo. org/ZooPax/ZPhorns. htm

Navigating the Unit

4th - 5 E Summary
4th - Engage
4th - Explore
4th - Explain
4th - Expand
4th - Evaluate
4th - 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