Iowa Pork and the U.S.

Iowa Pork and the U.S.

Target Grade Level / Age Range:

1st-2nd grades


45 minutes


  • To help students understand pigs and pork in the state of Iowa.
  • Identify how communities/states share to meet their economic needs and wants
  • Identify something special about their state. 


  • Pigs: An A to Z Book by Susan Anderson and JoAnne Buggey

Suggested Companion Resources:

  • Pigs & Pork in the story of agriculture by American Farm Bureau
  • Social Studies Alive!  My Community: by TCI


  • Community:  A place where a person lives, works, plays and solves problems.
  • Consumer:  A person who purchases goods and services for personal use
  • Producer:  A person, company, or country that makes, grows, or supplies goods or commodities for sale.

Background – Agricultural Connections:

Iowa is the largest pork producing state in the United States. Most pigs in Iowa live in barns, where they are given balanced rations that include corn, soybeans, vitamins and minerals. Iowa is also a major producer of soybeans, corn, and eggs. The huge agriculture industry in Iowa can be attributed to Iowa’s climate and soil. Iowa’s soil is rich and dark, and holds the nutrients needed to grow crops. The climate of cold winters and warm summers, is ideal for growing corn and soybeans. The large supply of corn and soybeans brings livestock industry into the state.

Pigs are raised to produce pork, which is a very commonly eaten meat product. Pork products include bacon, pork chops, ribs, pork loins, tenderloins, and ham.

Interest Approach or Motivator:

Have students list characteristics of Iowa. Prompt questions can include:

  • Where is Iowa located in the United States?
  • What does Iowa’s land look like?
  • What is Iowa’s climate like?
  • What kinds of jobs are there in Iowa?

Track student answers on chart paper or a white board.


  1. Read Pigs: An A to Z Book to students. 
  2. After reading, discuss with students the reasons why pigs are grown in Iowa. Link those reasons back to the characteristics of Iowa that students had listed.
  3. Ask students to consider the reason why pigs are raised.

Essential Files:

  • Pigs & Pork Poster
  • United States Map

Extension Activities:

  • Writing activity about the 50 states and what they produce
  • Food groups-Health


  • Pork Checkoff
  • American Farm Bureau
  • Social Studies Alive!  My Community by TCI


Kelly Kirchoff

National Agriculture Literacy Outcomes:

  • Agriculture and the Environment Outcomes
    • Provide examples of how weather patterns affect plant and animal growth for food
    • Describe how farmers/ranchers use land to grow crops and support livestock
    • Describe the importance of soil and water in raising crops and livestock
  • Plants and Animals for Food, Fiber and Energy
    • Identify animals involved in agricultural production and their uses (i.e., work, meat, dairy, eggs)
    • Identify the importance of natural resources (e.g., sun, soil, water, minerals) in farming
  • Culture, Society, Economy and Geography Outcomes
    • Identify plants and animals grown or raised locally that are used for food, clothing, shelter, and landscapes

Iowa Core Standards:

  • SS.K–2.E.4: Essential Concept and/or Skill: Understand people in all parts of the world trade with one another.
    • Understand the basic concept of trading.
    • Understand that different currencies are used throughout the world.
  • SS.K–2.E.2: Essential Concept and/or Skill: Understand that the basic nature of economics is an exchange of resources.
  • SS.K–2.E.6: Essential Concept and/or Skill: Understand the universal economic concept of needs and wants.
    • Understand the difference between needs and wants.
    • Understand the concepts of consumers and producers.
    • Understand that people make choices because they cannot have everything they want.
  • Iowa Core Science Standards:
    • 1-LS3-1. Make observations to construct an evidence-based account that young plants and animals are like, but not exactly like, their parents.
    • 2-LS4-1. Make observations of plants and animals to compare the diversity of life in different habitats.