National Agricultural Literacy Curriculum Matrix
Pigs on the Farm (Grades K-2)
K - 2
Students will explore the basic needs of animals and create a model of a modern pig barn that will help farmers meet the needs of the animals.
Interest Approach — Engagement
- Business-size envelopes, 4 per group
- Paper towel, 1 per group
- Toilet paper rolls, 2 per group
- Drinking straws, 2 per group (cut into 8 equal pieces)
- 8.5" x 11" white paper, 1 per group (cut in half)
- Scotch tape
- Markers (optional)
- Extra paper for making fencing, pipes, feed troughs, etc. (optional)
- Build Your Own Pig Barn Tutorial
- A Field Trip to Ohio Pig Farms
- Virtual Field Trip to an Ohio Pig Farm
environment: the surroundings or conditions in which a person, animal, or plant lives or operates
farrowing house: a facility where a litter of pigs is born
finishing barn: a barn where pigs live when they are eight weeks old until they are ready for market at six months old
litter: the group of young animals born at one time
nursery barn: a barn where piglets live after they are weaned at three weeks old until they are moved to the finishing barn at eight weeks old
omnivore: an animal or person that eats food of both plant and animal origin
piglet: a baby pig
pork: meat that comes from pigs
predator: an animal that preys on others
sow: a mother pig
wean: to help a baby to stop feeding on its mother's milk and to eat other foods
Did you know? (Ag Facts)
- Pigs can run a 7-minute mile.3
- Pigs were the first animals to be domesticated.4
- Pigs have below average eyesight, but powerful noses.4
- A pig's squeal can reach 130 decibels. A jet engine is 120 decibels.4
Background Agricultural Connections
Interest Approach – Engagement
- Ask the students, "What is pork?" (Pork is meat that comes from pigs. Bacon, pork chops, ham, and sausage are examples of pork products.)
- View the video A Field Trip to Ohio Pig Farms.
- Ask the students, "Why are barns important for pigs?" (Barns protect pigs from weather, disease, and predators.)
- Explain to the students that they will be learning more about what pigs need to be healthy and how a pig's environment can protect them.
- Ask the students, "What do you need to survive?" (food, water, air, and shelter) Ask the students if they think pigs have the same or different needs. Discuss their responses and guide them to the understanding that pigs have the same basic needs as humans. Just like humans, pigs need space, social interaction, and treatment for injuries and disease.
- Ask the students to imagine that they are farmers who raise pigs. Open up a classroom discussion about how the students would take care of their pigs. Use the following questions to guide the discussion:
- How will you keep the animals warm on cold days?
- How will you keep them cool on hot days?
- What and how will you feed the animals?
- What will you do to keep your pigs healthy?
- How will you keep your pigs safe from predators?
- Who will take care of your pigs every day?
- How will the pigs affect the land or air in which they live (soil, odor)?
- Can the environment hurt the pigs (weather)?
- What other needs do the pigs have, and how will you take care of these needs?
- Explain to the students that they are going to design an environment, a pig barn, that will help farmers meet the needs of pigs. Organize students into small groups or allow students to work individually. Provide each student or group with four business-size envelopes, a paper towel, two toilet paper rolls, two straws cut into eight equal pieces, a piece of white paper cut in half, scissors, and scotch tape.
- Use the following instructions to model for the students how to create the barn:
- Barn: Cut an oval hole in one envelope, making a large side window for the barn. This window provides the proper ventilation for the pigs.
- Cut the paper towel in half and tape it onto the top of the window for the curtain.
- Cut another envelope in half for the ends of the barn.
- Tape the ends of the barn to the "sides of the barn" envelopes, one of which has the hole for the window and paper towel curtain, so that you have four sides, or a rectangle.
- Use the final envelope to create a roof by creasing it in half lengthwise and attaching it with tape to the top of the rectangle.
- Food Storage: Tape four straws, or legs, to each toilet paper roll so that the structures will stand on the legs.
- Use a half piece of paper, and make a cone shape by twisting and taping the ends. Tape the cone shape on the end of the toilet paper roll without the straw legs.
- Use the other half piece of paper to make another smaller cone shape and tape it between the straw legs on the other end of the toilet paper roll.
- Remind the students that their barn designs should help farmers meet the needs of pigs. Allow time for the students to create fencing, pipes to carry the feed, feeders, water troughs, fans, misters, heaters, etc. Students should add their own innovations to the structure.
- Ask the students to share their barns with the rest of the class and explain how their designs help to meet the basic needs of the pigs:
Concept Elaboration and Evaluation
After conducting these activities, review and summarize the following key concepts:
- Food, water, air, and shelter are the basic needs of pigs.
- Pigs also need space, social interaction, and treatment for injuries or disease.
- Modern pig barns protect pigs from weather, disease, and predators.
- Pork is a meat that comes from pigs. Bacon, pork chops, ham, and sausage are examples of pork products.
We welcome your feedback! Please take a minute to tell us how to make this lesson better or to give us a few gold stars!
Learn more about how farmers care for pigs by taking a Virtual Field Trip to an Ohio Pig Farm.
Suggested Companion Resources
- FUNdamentals of Farming Game (Activity)
- Farm Pop-Ups (Activity)
- Down on the Farm: Pigs (Book)
- Pigs (Book)
- Pigs & Pork in the Story of Agriculture (Book)
- Pigs: An A to Z Book (Book)
- The Perfect Barn (Book)
- About Farm Animals Mini Kit (Kit)
- About...Books (Kit)
- Livestock Cards (Poster, Map, Infographic)
Agricultural Literacy Outcomes
Plants and Animals for Food, Fiber & Energy
- Explain how farmers work with the lifecycle of plants and animals (planting/breeding) to harvest a crop (T2.K-2.a)
- Identify animals involved in agricultural production and their uses (i.e., work, meat, dairy, eggs) (T2.K-2.b)
- Identify examples of feed/food products eaten by animals and people (T2.K-2.c)
- Identify the importance of natural resources (e.g., sun, soil, water, minerals) in farming (T2.K-2.e)
Science, Technology, Engineering & Math
- Explain what tools and materials farmers/ranchers use to reduce heating and cooling in plant and livestock structures (T4.K-2.a)
Education Content Standards
K-2-ETS1: Engineering Design
K-2-ETS1-1Ask questions, make observations, and gather information about a situation people want to change to define a simple problem that can be solved through the development of a new or improved object or tool.
K-2-ETS1-2Develop a simple sketch, drawing, or physical model to illustrate how the shape of an object helps it function as needed to solve a given problem.
K-ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
K-ESS3-1Use a model to represent the relationship between the needs of different plants or animals (including humans) and the places they live.
K-LS1: From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
K-LS1-1Use observations to describe patterns of what plants and animals (including humans) need to survive.
K-PS3-2Use tools and materials to design and build a structure that will reduce the warming effect of sunlight on an area.
Common Core Connections
Speaking and Listening: Anchor Standards
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.2Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.4Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.5Make strategic use of digital media and visual displays of data to express information and enhance understanding of presentations.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.6Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and communicative tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.
Mathematics: Practice Standards
CCSS.MATH.PRACTICE.MP5Use appropriate tools strategically. Students consider the available tools when solving a mathematical problem. These tools might include pencil and paper, concrete models, a ruler, a protractor, a calculator, a spreadsheet, a computer algebra system, a statistical package, or dynamic geometry software. Students at various grade levels are able to identify relevant external mathematical resources, such as digital content located on a website, and use them to pose or solve problems. They are able to use technological tools to explore and deepen their understandings of concepts.