Target Grade Level / Age Range:

3 rd 


Two 30-minute class periods

Virtual Learning:

Use this document to convert the lesson into a virtual learning module for your students. Use the steps outlined to create the different elements of a Google Classroom or other online learning platform. You can also send the steps directly to students in a PDF, present them in a virtual meeting, or plug them into any other virtual learning module system.


Students will have a greater understanding of how turkeys are raised and how this important part of Thanksgiving dinner gets from the farm to your dinner table.


  • At least one copy of My Family’s Turkey Farm by Katie Olthoff
  • Cut out vegetables for the Thanksgiving store
  • Thanksgiving store shopping list

Suggested Companion Resources


  • Farmer – someone who works on a farm and raises crops or livestock
  • Flock – group of turkeys
  • Snood – colorful skin on the top of the turkey head and hanging off the beak
  • Wattle – colored skin on the neck of the turkey
  • Beard – black hair on the chest of a male turkey
  • Tom – male turkey
  • Hen – female turkey
  • Poult – baby turkey
  • Barns – buildings on a farm that animals can live in to keep them warm and protected
  • Bushel – measure of grains like corn or soybeans (about the size of a small laundry basket)
  • Veterinarian – doctor who works with animals to help keep them healthy

Interest Approach or Motivator

Do you eat turkey for Thanksgiving dinner? Have you ever eaten a turkey sandwich? How does that turkey get from the farm to your plate?

Background – Agricultural Connections

The average American eats 18 pounds of turkey each year. Half of that is on sandwiches. Turkeys are an important commodity throughout the year but get extra attention during the month of November with their iconic connection to Thanksgiving.


  1. Have students read My Family’s Turkey Farm individually or read the book aloud to the whole class. Be sure to show the pictures to the class so they can see what a real turkey farm looks like. Use the supplemental information in the book to talk about turkey production.
  2. Display the weekly growth graphic of turkey hatching. Have students explain what is happening in each picture. Use the day indicators to talk about the length of time that it takes for a poult to hatch. Can students do the math? How many weeks are there in 28 days?
  3. Review some math concepts with students.
    1. Review the steps of subtraction. Have students practice with the following problems.
      1. In a flock of 1,000 - 300 are taken away. How many turkeys are left? (Answer: 700)
      2. A group of 500 poults is split into two groups. One group has 300 birds. How many birds are in the other group? (Answer: 200)
    2. Review the steps of division. Have students practice with the following problems.
      1. 30 turkeys divided by 5 feeders. How many turkeys eat at each feeder? (Answer: 6)
      2. 40 turkeys divided by 4 waterers. How many turkeys drink water at each waterer? (Answer: 10)
      3. 5 pounds of corn for 5 turkeys. How many pounds of corn does each turkey get? (Answer: 1)
    3. Review the steps of multiplication. Have students practice with the following problems.
      1. Turkeys can grow up to 2 pounds a week. After 4 weeks how many pounds will a turkey have gained? (2 multiplied by 4) (Answer: 8)
      2. Turkeys can eat up to 4 pounds of mixed corn and soybean every week. After 8 weeks, how many pounds of feed will they have eaten? (4 multiplied by 8) (Answer: 32)
      3. One market turkey can weigh 45 pounds. How much will 2 market turkeys weigh? (45 multiplied by 2) (Answer: 90)
    4. Review the steps of understanding simple fractions. Have students practice with the following problems.
      1. 2 eggs out of a total of 6 eggs have hatched. What simple fraction is 2/6 equal to? (Answer: 1/3)
      2. 4 of the 6 eggs will hatch within the next few hours. What simple fraction is 4/6 equal to? (Answer: 2/3)
      3. The 6 new poults were added to another clutch or group of 4 poults. Now there are 10 birds total. What simple fraction is 6/10 equal to? What simple fraction is 4/10 equal to? (Answers: 3/5 and 2/5)
    5. Review the steps of telling time and adding or subtracting minutes. Have students practice with the following problems.
      1. The first egg hatched at 9:15 a.m. The second egg hatched 11 minutes later. What time is it? (Answer: 9:26 a.m.)
      2. A third egg hatched at 9:55 a.m. A fourth egg hatched 20 minutes later. What time is it? (Answer: 10:15 a.m.)
    6. Distribute the Turkey Math worksheet. Have students work independently to do the math. Then ask them to check their answers with a partner. Finally, review the answers with the entire class and check for accuracy.
  4. Create a Thanksgiving store on the board or distribute the Thanksgiving Store document and the Thanksgiving Shopping List worksheet. Talk about the cost of each item with the students. Have students use math skills (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division) to complete the Thanksgiving Shopping List worksheet at home independently or as a class. Review the correct responses with the students.

Essential Files (maps, charts, pictures, or documents)

Did You Know? (Ag facts)

  • 96% of farms in the United States are family farms.
  • Wild turkeys have dark feathers while domesticated turkeys are white.
  • Full grown turkeys can weigh more than 45 pounds.
  • Turkeys eat corn and soybeans.
  • It takes about 20 weeks to grow a market weight turkey.
  • Benjamin Franklin suggested that the national bird be the turkey instead of the bald eagle.
  • Turkey manure is recycled and used as fertilizer on fields that grow corn and soybeans.
  • Turkeys are native to North America.
  • Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a national holiday.
  • Turkeys have approximately 3,500 feathers. Feather boas are often made from turkey feathers.
  • It takes 28 days for a turkey egg to hatch into a young poult.
  • Israel eats more turkey per person than any other country. The U.S. is second.

Extension Activities

  • Students read about a career as a farmer and as a veterinarian. Have them write a short paragraph about a career they want to pursue in the future.
  • On a trip to Subway or a grocery store, have students ask where the turkey deli meat came from. (High likelihood that the meat came from an Iowa or Minnesota turkey grower)


Katie Olthoff, Iowa Turkey Federation


Will Fett

Organization Affiliation

Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation

Agriculture Literacy Outcomes

  • Theme 2: Understand the concept of stewardship and identify ways farmers care for soil, water, plants, and animals.
  • Theme 2: Provide examples of specific ways farmers meet the needs of animals.
  • Theme 3: Diagram the path of production for a processed product, from farm to table.
  • Theme 3: Identify food sources of required food nutrients.
  • Theme 4: Provide examples of science being applied in farming for food, clothing, and shelter products.
  • Theme 4: Discover that there are many jobs in agriculture.

Education Content Standards

  • 3.OA.A.1:  Interpret products of whole numbers, e.g., interpret 5 × 7 as the total number of objects in 5 groups of 7 objects each.
  • 3.OA.A.3: Use multiplication and division within 100 to solve word problems in situations involving equal groups, arrays, and measurement quantities, e.g., by using drawings and equations with a symbol for the unknown number to represent the problem.
  • 3.NBT.A.2. Fluently add and subtract within 1000 using strategies and algorithms based on place value, properties of operations, and/or the relationship between addition and subtraction.
  • 3.NF.A.3. Explain equivalence of fractions in special cases and compare fractions by reasoning about their size.
  • 3.MD.A.1. Tell and write time to the nearest minute and measure time intervals in minutes. Solve word problems involving addition and subtraction of time intervals in minutes, e.g., by representing the problem on a number line diagram.

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