For Teachers

Letter to Educators



Why Study Rare Breeds?

ALBC Conservation Priorty List


~ K-2 Overview


~ 3-5 Overview



Farm Visits



Materials needed

CD, projector, spindle, DropSpindle.pdf, SpindlePhotoEssay.pdf.

Before heading out to the farm, do a KWL chart. It's always a good idea to find out what your students already know about a topic. An easy and relatively quick way to do this is to create a KWL chart as a large group. (K= What I already KNOW. W= What I think I know, and L = What I want to LEARN. ) It's very important when brainstorming for this chart that you ACCEPT WHAT EVERYONE HAS TO SAY EVEN IF IT MAY BE A MISCONCEPTION.

As the students progress through the unit they will hopefully discover that some of what they thought they knew may not actually be true. As a wrap-up at the end of the unit you can return to the original KWL and see what has changed - including what they might want to learn more about in the future!

Make a chart on a large piece of paper with 3 columns or sections labeled:

1. What I already know about farm animals. . . . . 2. What I think I know about farm animals. . . . 3. What I would like to learn about farm animals. . . .

As a large group have students raise their hands to add to each of these lists. It may be easiest to tackle one list at a time. You can leave the lists up in the classroom for students to add to as you progress through the unit, or just save them to refer back to after you have had more experiences learning about these animals. Depending on your group of students, expect this to take about 30 - 45 minutes, or 10-15 minutes per section of the chart.


Invite a variety of farmers to be on a panel. They do not all have to own rare or endangered farm animals. They actually don't all have to have animals. Consider: large, small, organic, not organic, livestock, no livestock, male, female, black, white, old, young. Try to keep the panel small so everyone will have a chance to respond to questions. Students should come up with questions beforehand (3 or 4 is probably enough). Make sure they have the questions with them. Note cards are good for this since they don't rustle as much as sheets of paper. You should also have some questions, in case there is a lull in the questioning or the students get lost on a tangent.



As a part of the field trip, consider weaving in Science with Adaptation or Animal Behavior Studies. Both are covered in the Fourth Grade Unit.

Arts: Readers and Writers Workshop

Students read and report from selected factual and fictional texts.

Suggested reading: A/G readers: selections from Vanishing Feast, D. H. Patent 5th Gr: A Rare Breeds Album, C. Christman, P. Sponenberg, D. Bixby Emerging: Bonny's Big Day by James Herriot

Language Arts and Social Studies: Colonial Life

This Rare Breeds unit dovetails well with a unit about Life in Colonial America (Lives of the Settlers, Lives of the Slaves) and the Revolutionary and Civil Wars.
Hands-on Activities to consider include:
• Using Canada (or other) goose feathers to make quill pens. • Play with wooden period toys such as Cup and Ball, tops and dice. • Study lives of the slaves (including care and training of farm animals). • Cook hominy grits, churn butter. • Spin and card wool • Sing period songs • Play musical instruments • Study maps of the period and compare with today's geography. • Research local African American historical sites (churches, schools, houses). • Look at American Revolution and Civil War weaponry. Compare. Discuss war then and now, discuss war in general. • Read source material Selected Sources from the 18th Century South: The Carolinas and Georgia 1760-1790. Compiled and Edited by John T. Misshelley. )

(Replicas of toys, quill pens, slave song books, books on clothing, games, the general store and the southern plantation, cook books and books about colonial living in the south can all be ordered from Historic Brattonsville Gift Shop. Tel: 803. 684. 2327 or www. yorkcounty. org. 1114 Brattonsville Rd. , McConnells, SC 29726)

Math: Fractions

Use the deck of cards to create word problems. Students will naturally create problems within their own skill range. e. g. Choose 1-5 cards and create a word problem.

* If a farmer has 125 goats and 1/5 of them are a herd of Nigerian Dwarf goats, how many are Nigerian Dwarf goats are in that herd?

* Create fraction statements. There are 16 total horse cards, and 4 of the cards are the American Cream horse. The American Cream is 1/4, or 25% of all the horse cards.

* Rare and Endangered Farm Animal Graphs. Have students make a bar graph about some aspect of rare and endangered farm animals. For instance, p. 44 of Taking Stock, The North American Livestock Census by Don Bixby et al has a table of cattle registrations. Students could choose 5-10 of these breeds and create a bar graph comparing them. Have students make a first draft on graph paper and then a final draft on the computer using a AppleWorks or Microsoft Excel.


This is a great opportunity to let students try their hands at creating something from scratch. Some possibilities are: spinning wool using a drop spindle DropSpindle.pdf, SpindlePhotoEssay.pdf, weaving, knitting, making felt, making butter, making ice cream, making cheese. Consider inviting a local weaver to the classroom.

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