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Canadian Agriculture at a Glance Teacher's Kit > Lesson plans

Lesson: Pig production is getting bigger and more specialized

View the article (PDF)
Curriculum connections
Notes to teacher
Teaching and learning strategies
Assessment/evaluation strategies
Accommodation and enrichment strategies
Links to other activities
Suggestions for further research


This activity looks at changes in pig production and the factors behind them.

Curriculum connections


  • demonstrates an understanding of the diversity of an agricultural endeavour
  • identifies the human factors that affect food production.

Family Studies/Home Economics

  • identifies food supply and production industries in Canada
  • identifies factors that affect food supply in Canada
  • investigates food-related issues
  • promotes an understanding of the links between agriculture and the consumer
  • describes the effect of economics on food production and supply, and ultimately costs to consumers
  • describes the impact of consumer demand on food production
  • describes new technology and products related to food.

Notes to teacher

This entire unit, which corresponds to the chapter "The Business of Farming" in the book, can be done as a group work project, with each group completing one activity and presenting it to the rest of the class (PDF).

Teaching and learning strategies

  1. Students read the article "Pig production is getting bigger and more specialized" on pages 219 to 228 in Canadian Agriculture at a Glance (PDF).
  2. While reading the article, students answer the following questions:
    1. How has pig production changed in recent years?
    2. Which part of Canada is gaining a larger share of production? Which part is losing share?
    3. Which province has a smaller share of pigs than two decades ago?
    4. How have exports changed? What caused that change?
    5. What changes are happening at the farm level? For what reasons?
    6. How is animal care directing the change?
    7. What is a farrow-to-finish operation?
    8. What new systems are replacing farrow-to-finish?
    9. What are the advantages and disadvantages of specialization?
  3. Students add terminology to their glossaries.

Assessment/evaluation strategies

  1. Assess answers for accuracy and completion.
  2. Assess glossaries for accuracy and completion.

Accommodation and enrichment strategies

  1. Some students may require assistance in order to complete written work.
  2. Students with special needs may work with a partner to complete a task.
  3. Templates for note-taking should be provided to students with special needs.
  4. Main ideas and/or new information should be mapped out and organized to meet the needs of all students.
  5. Wherever possible, vocabulary lists should be provided with a discussion of context clues and related vocabulary.
  6. For enrichment, students may wish to visit a pig farm to see the different stages of the operation.

Links to other activities

This activity is linked to:

Suggestions for further research

  • Students may study other industries to see how specialization is or has been occurring.
  • Students can use 2001 Census of Agriculture data in E-STAT for data analysis, graphing and mapping activities for specific geographic areas of local interest.

Please send comments or examples of how you used this lesson in your class to Learning Resources.

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Date modified: 2008-05-20 Important Notices