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Egg-Citing Learning as Chickens Hatch in EMS ISD Elementary Schools

Baby chick in an incubatorStudents across all elementary schools in Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD recently embarked on an egg-citing educational journey, as first-grade students incubated chicken eggs for 21 days, eagerly awaiting the moment when they would hatch. 

This hands-on learning experience not only captivated the students' attention but also provided them with insights into the life cycle of a chicken.  

“The eggs hatch in 21 days, so if they don’t hatch the first day in 21 days, they’ll hatch the next day and so sometimes some of them will hatch at different times,” said Allie Dossey, a first grader at Copper Creek Elementary School. 

From the initial stages of incubation to the thrilling moment of hatching, the students were actively engaged in understanding the intricacies of this natural process. 

“When the chicken hatches, it’s wet,” said Tamryn Cornell, a first grader at Northbrook Elementary School. They hatch with down feathers, and they’re wet, and when theya woman holding a baby chick dry, we can take care of them. 

Part of what makes this program special is that it takes place at all EMS ISD elementary campuses. 

“In EMS ISD science we are very intentional about each campus being represented equally. When Texas A&M AgriLife contacted us to participate in this program again I was very excited to share this experience with all first graders across the district,” said Monica Padilla, elementary science coordinator. “Students learn many things from having the chicks in their classrooms. For life cycles, they learn that parents and young usually resemble one another in many ways, but sometimes they do not.  When young animals are different from their parents, we can describe these differences as part of a life cycle.  For animal characteristics, they learn that animals have external characteristics such as body covering, color, body shape or size related to where they live.” 

Students also learn about caring for the newborn chicks, including why they need a warming lamp, food, water and bedding in their box. 

A baby chick with a flowery frame“I think it’s important for students to learn about the life cycle because not only is it hands on learning, but it shows them this cycle from start to finish,” said Kristen Larance, a first grade teacher at Copper Creek Elementary School. "It is fun and engaging for all the kids to learn each step and what happens every day before the chicks actually hatch, and then how to care for them after.” 

As the 21-day incubation period ended, the classrooms buzzed with excitement as the students gathered around the incubators to witness the hatching process.  

Larance said, “We sang happy birthday, there was screaming, squealing, applauding, just about every reaction that you could see. It was very exciting.“  

Now, the students are focused on the life ahead for these chicks.

"Once they get puffy and all the other chicks that need to hatch, hatch, we can take them out of the incubator and put them in their home," Dossey said. "We need to help them, so they can have a happy life." 

Through this egg-citing journey, students not only gained a deeper understanding of the lifecycle of a chicken but also cultivated important skills such as observation, patience, and empathy. As they bid farewell to their newly hatched chicks, they carry with them memories that will last a lifetime of the time the chickens hatched in class.