For Teachers

Letter to Educators



Why Study Rare Breeds?

ALBC Conservation Priorty List


~ K-2 Overview


~ 3-5 Overview



Farm Visits

Fifth Grade Unit: EXPAND



• Geographic distribution
• Adaptation to specific climates
• Immigration and Settlement
• Colonial Times, colonization
• Westward Expansion and the Agrarian Economy
• Your state or the United States


After a whole class discussion, the students choose an animal to research. Encourage them to choose a variety of species (ducks, chickens, cows, horses, goats, sheep, pigs, turkeys. ). (If you don't you may get lots of folks doing horses and not much else!) The ALBC web site has a great list of possibilities if there were not enough at the farm to choose among (or there was no field trip to launch the unit).

It is helpful to have a variety of books and magazines that students can look through to get ideas (since they probably don't know many of these animals). See the resources section for the list of idea books and magazines. Some students may have seen an animal on the slide show that interested them, or they may use the card game to find an animal they like. Encourage students to do a little digging before they chose.

Go over the requirements for the research with the whole group, then they can begin to work independently.



World Map, 2" paper stars or other means to identify each animal's country of origin. (Consider using color coded paper stars, a different color for each species, i. e. pink stars for horses, gold for chickens, etc. ), yarn to connect the animal's star to it's country of origin. Books about farm animals (See resources section), computer(s) with access to the Internet, printer, large sheets (14" x 17" or larger) of construction paper or poster board for mounting each student's presentation, paper, pencils, markers.




1. Once the options for animals from the farm or zoo are used and all have been assigned, students might visit the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy website and explore the variety of rare and endangered farm animals presented there on their "Conservation Priority List. "

2. Students revisit or rediscover the idea that farm animals were also early immigrants to our country from many other countries of the world. (www. albc-usa. org) Other sources of information about rare and endangered farm animals can also be found on-line. Historic Latta Plantation (www. lattaplantation. org) has photographs of some of their animals. You can click on animals to find more info. You can also use your search engine to look for information about rare and endangered farm animals.

3. Students choose a farm animal to research and learn where they were imported from.



1. Once students have chosen an animal they will locate its country of origin on a world map. Students will write the name of their animal on a color coded star (corresponds to the species of their animal) and place it adjacent to the world map. They need to connect the star to the country of origin of the animal with a piece of yarn.

2. This can mostly be done while students are working on their research, but allow at least 30 minutes for a follow up discussion about the map.

3. As students are working on their research they will begin to learn the countries of origin of their animals. Set up a " Rare and Endangered Farm Animals Countries of Origin" bulletin board. On the bulletin board place a world map and the beginnings of a key with each species listed. As students discover where their animals are from, they go to the bulletin board, write the name of their animal on a paper star of the appropriate color, place the star on the bulletin board and connect to the map with a piece of yarn and push pins.

4. The colors of the stars for each species can be determined by the teacher or by the first student to the board for each species (a little added incentive to find out where your animal is from!).

5. BEWARE some of these animals are difficult to research and students may have a hard time finding information, especially dates. BE FLEXIBLE! If they have really tried to find the information, they (and you) may have to accept that they aren®t going to find that piece of information. If that is not OK, then they (and you) may have to be open to choosing a new animal. Consider warning students about the need for new choices if they reach a dead end.

6. One way to avoid a rush to the bulletin board to put up their stars would be to have a "tag team" approach.

7. For the tag team you can choose about 2 or 3 kids to go first. When they have gotten their stars on the map, then they choose someone to go next.

8. Once all of the stars are on the map, have a discussion about what they see. This works well if you are studying or have studied Colonial America/ early immigrants to the US.

9. Just by asking a few questions you can usually get the kids going. Start with some really broad questions: "What do you notice about the map?" or , "About where are the stars placed on the map?" What continents are represented? Where are the most stars? Where are the least? What countries have stars? Why do you think that? At some point bring in to the conversation (if it hasn®t come up yet) that many of the early settlers of the US came from Europe. Does that match with where the animals came from? Why? or Why not?



1. Students research the animal. They need to attempt to determine some basic facts about the animals, ie - Where was the animal imported from? When was the animal originally imported? What was the animal used for? Why are they rare or endangered at this time?

2. Study the area where your breed originated. Look up regional climate, population needs, history of agriculture, modes of transportation and whatever other factors likely influenced the development of your breed with it®s specific adaptations.

3. What factors mostly influenced it®s development as a breed? Be sure to look into and information provided by the breed organization to guide your research.

4. Next, try to determine why that breed was imported (or "immigrated") to the United States. What usefulness or purpose did it serve for the people providing it with a habitat?



1. The goal for this part of the unit is for students to find some basic facts about the animals: country of origin, approximate date of immigration, uses by humans, and at least 3 other interesting facts about the animal, as well as a picture or two. (Consider limiting the amount of color pictures they print. )

2. This information can then be arranged to make an attractive mini poster (11" x 17") that can be viewed from a distance. Students will also research the animal and its uses to determine why it was imported. Require a bibliography so that students learn the proper format for citing resources . Emphasize that website sources of downloaded pictures from the Internet need to be included in their bibliography.

3. Research other rare breeds of the species. Are there older breeds/ Are there breeds with other skills and abilities? What makes your breed unique compared to the others?

4. The posters will be mounted along the timeline across the classroom wall, based on time of immigration to this continent after oral reports. Required days depends on how much time you allow students to work each day, how efficient they are, and how many computers are available. If I have a lot of kids working a project that is computer intensive then I usually try to have something else going on. I make a sign up sheet for my writing workshop time and students sign up according to what they need to get done and what resources are available.

Meg Millard


Sample Farm Unit Sign-up Sheet (SignUp.pdf)


Pedro's Journal by Pam Conrad is a good class read aloud at this time because it is about Columbus®s journey and they mention the livestock that was brought along on the ship.

Navigating the Unit

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