K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

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Learning outcomes

Students will discover that farm animals were also early immigrants to our country from many other countries of the world.

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

5 days


  • computer(s) with access to the internet
  • printer
  • print or web-based resources about farm animals
  • world map
  • paper stars or other means to identify where each animal came from (I used color-coded paper stars; a different color for each species, e.g. pink stars for horses, gold for chickens, etc)
  • paper and pencils
  • markers
  • large sheets (12″ x 18″ or larger) of construction paper or poster board for mounting
  • yarn


  • Students will have begun to explore the concept of immigration to this continent by humans.
  • Create a KWL chart about what students currently know about farm animals.


  1. Have students visit the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy website and explore the variety of rare and endangered farm animals presented there. The page listing breed information shows the status of various breeds, and provides links to detailed pages about each species, including the history of its arrival to North America. Students will discover that farm animals were also early immigrants to our country from many other countries of the world.
  2. Look at a few breeds as a class. For each one, discuss with students where the breed originated, who brought it to the new continent, and why. What was the animal used for? Why was it necessary to import animals from elsewhere rather than relying on native species?
  3. Note: Another source of information about rare and endangered farm animals can also be found on the Historic Latta Plantation, website which provides information about a handful of historic farm animal breeds.
  4. Have each student choose a farm animal to research and learn where it was imported from.
  5. Have each student locate the country of origin for his or her animal on a world map and write the name of the animal on a color-coded star that corresponds to the species of their animal. Have students place their stars adjacent to the world map and then connect the star to the animal’s country of origin with a piece of yarn.
  6. Have each student research his or her animal and determine some basic facts about the breed: For example, Where was the animal imported from? When was the animal originally imported, and by whom? What was the animal used for? Why are they rare or endangered at this time?
  7. Have students create a mini-poster about the animal that includes a picture (if available) and answers to the above questions.
  8. Mount the posters along a timeline across the classroom wall based on time of immigration to this continent.


See attached Farm Animal Immigrants Rubric.

Supplemental information

Your local librarian or county agricultural extension agent can help you find more information about farm animal breeds, as well as local farmers who might raise rare and endangered farm animals.

This lesson plan was created as part of a LEARN NC workshop in cooperation with NC Echo and Newspapers in Education May 2004.

  • North Carolina Essential Standards
    • Social Studies (2010)
      • Grade 5

        • 5.C.1 Understand how increased diversity resulted from migration, settlement patterns and economic development in the United States. 5.C.1.1 Analyze the change in leadership, cultures and everyday life of American Indian groups before and after European exploration....

North Carolina curriculum alignment

Social Studies (2003)

Grade 5

  • Goal 4: The learner will trace key developments in United States history and describe their impact on the land and people of the nation and its neighboring countries.
    • Objective 4.02: Explain when, where, why, and how groups of people settled in different regions of the United States.
    • Objective 4.03: Describe the contributions of people of diverse cultures throughout the history of the United States.