We Need Farm Animals
- Grades: PreK–K, 1–2
- Unit Plan:
Students will learn about the types of animals on a farm and what resources they provide for people. They will practice descriptive writing and adding detail to their writing as they keep their audience in mind.
- List five farm animals
- Describe the behavior, appearance, and habitat of farm animals
- List resources people utilize that they obtain from farm animals
- Hattie and the Fox by Mem Fox
- Three books by Gail Gibbons: Horses, Pigs, Chicks and Chickens, The Milk Makers, and Ducks
- Construction paper
- Index cards
- Scissors and glue
- Butcher paper
- Chart paper
- Figures, photos, or drawings of several farm animals
- Figures, photos, or drawings of resources from farm animals (piece of chicken, cheese, ice cream, milk, feathers, hamburger, eggs, bacon, pork, etc.)
Set Up and Prepare
- Gather pictures of resources from farm animals and their corresponding animal for a matching game. You might want to use the pictures from a grocery store flyer that you cut out beforehand, or you could use the plastic food in your housekeeping center.
- Cut the index cards into smaller pieces. These will be labels on a class mural, so make them large enough to write on, but not too big.
Explain to the children that we will be talking about farms for the next few weeks. Ask them what they know about farms. Focus the conversation on what animals are on farms and then tell them that we will be looking at a book with farm animals. Read the book, Hattie and the Fox.
Tell the students that they will be describing an animal. As a class, practice by describing the fox. Ask the students about his color, size, number of legs, etc. Does he have fur or feathers? Wings? A beak or a nose? Try to encourage them to be as specific as possible as though they were describing a fox to someone who has never seen one.
Divide the class into five groups. Each group will study one animal from the book (horse, cow, pig, goose, and chicken). Send the groups to their tables and put a picture or model of the animal that each group will study in the center of the table. Have each student write a description of their animal. You may need to roam the room, reminding them to add details.
When the students finish, have them return to the rug and ask for someone from each group to describe their animal. You might want to choose those who have a lot of details in their writing.
Review the animals that the class talked about yesterday. Today they will get even more information about their farm animal. Show the books by Gail Gibbons. Show the students how to get more information about their animal from the book. Have them focus on things like: Where on the farm does the animal live? What does their animal do (walk, fly, swim, etc.)? What do they eat? Remind the students that they will be writing as if the person reading has never seen their animal. So they need to add lots of detail.
Send the students to their "farm animal" tables to write about their animal's behavior.
As they finish, they can return to the rug so they can share what they learned about their animal.
Have the students sit in a circle around the rug. In the middle of the circle place the figures or pictures of food. I usually remind the students that they cannot touch the objects yet and if they want to play the game, they need to keep their hands in their laps. Anyone whose hands are too eager can sit apart from the group to "watch how to keep their hands in their laps" since they didn't understand the first time. After a few minutes they can try again.
Explain to the students that we will be sorting these objects. First, have the students find what comes from a chicken. Then go from animal to animal until all the objects are sorted. As you sort, you can have them place objects on large pieces of construction paper to visually separate them better. In this conversation you might end up talking about how hamburgers come from cows and chicken comes from chickens. I have never had a problem with students understanding this or having a hard a time with it, and I generally let them take the lead on this discussion.
Send the students to their tables to write about resources from their farm animals. Then they can join together as a group to share their results.
Today the students will make a mural to represent all that they have learned about farm animals. Each student can choose an animal to make. They will make their animal from construction paper and write three things that they learned about their animal on three little index cards. These index cards will act as labels.
Have the students finish the mural by making a barn, fences, trees, a chicken coop, etc. Then have them assemble the mural by placing animal in the appropriate place on the farm. Then have them put their labels near their animals.
Supporting All Learners
For students that struggle with writing, I make sure that they have access to an alphabet chart. I have taught them how to ‘read' the alphabet chart by saying "A, /a/, apple. B, /b/, bear, etc." This way when they are breaking apart sounds in words they have a reference tool and the basic knowledge of how to use it.
The students could write mini-reports on their farm animal to share with another (preferably younger) class.
Farm Hunt! Have your students and families search their homes for products that come from farms or farm animals. They can make a list of things they found and where in their home they found these items.
- The students will write descriptions of animals.
- The students will draw a farm animal and label it with information about their animal.
- The students will sort products from farms according to what animal they come from.
- Were the students able to describe animals using details? Were they using the model description that was made as a class? Were they describing more than the class model? Less?
- For the mural, were the students making and listing information about the animal that they focused on or on an animal that they learned about from peers? Are they learning from each other?
- Are students using details in their writing?
- Are they writing to the perspective of their audience?
- Can students list resources that people utilize from animals?