Hatching baby chicks in the classroom is an authentic way to teach your students about Life Science. Follow these steps for a fun and educational project!
Obtain fertile chicken eggs and an incubator. You can get these from a hatchery or poultry supply company and they can easily be purchased online.
Teach your students about the egg and embryo development. Students should keep a Life Science journal during this unit of study. Break open an egg and have students draw and label the parts of the egg. Draw an embryo and label the parts of it as well. A fun way to teach the growth and development of the embryo is to find pictures (www.enchantedlearning.com has great pictures) of each day in the 21-day cycle. Put a picture of each day into a plastic egg and label the eggs 1-21. Have students take turns opening them in order so that they can observe what is happening inside the egg’s shell.
Teach the students about the hen’s role and how the incubator will mimic the role. Students should sketch the incubator and describe its functions in their journals.
Read books that show pictures of the development and describe the hatching process. Two great resources include Window Into an Egg by Geraldine Lux and Inside an Egg by Sylvia A. Johnson.
Set up a system for turning the eggs. The eggs need to be turned 3 times a day to avoid a developing embryo sticking the side of the shell. If you put an X on one side of each egg it will be easy to keep track of the egg turning. A student can turn the eggs in the morning (X won’t be visible), another student can turn them in the middle of the day (X is now visible) and another student can turn them at the end of the day (once again the X isn’t visible). Create a record-keeping sheet where students record the time they’ve turned the egg as well as the temperature of the incubator at each turn. The eggs will have to be turned on weekends as well, so plan accordingly.
Wait. The incubation process takes 21 days. Set aside a portion of each day to do a related activity to keep the students interest in the project. Once they hatch, students will be excited to record the “birthdays” of the baby chicks in their journal.
You’ve reached the culmination of the project and you’ll need to find a home for the chicks. They are not pets and should not be sent home with the students.
This article was written by Shelly Seigler and sponsored by Another Perfect Gift, which is an online gift shop that offers great ideas for valentines day gifts, gifts for dog lovers and unique gifts for her.