Finding creative ways to learn in a Washington County Keystone STARS early learning program!
Just Us Kids’ 3K classroom theme for the fall is “For the Birds”, literally! We are learning about a specific bird every month; our classroom management system is birds in birdhouses; even our class pets are cockatiels. So, when given the opportunity by Pam Paletta of the Washington County 4H Club to raise chicks from embryo to adulthood we jumped at the chance!
On Tuesday, October 1 our “egg-citing” adventure began. Ms. Paletta brought us 24 eggs. We cracked one so the children would understand what they would be looking for each time we candled the eggs and then we carefully marked each one with an “X” and numbered them 1 through 23.
We turned on our incubator and put our thermometers inside so we could be sure the temperature was always at or above 99 degrees.
Every day we carefully turned the eggs three times to ensure the baby chick would not stick to its shell.
Every Monday we candled the eggs to see what was growing inside.
We set up an entire chicken learning center complete with the egg cycle flash cards, lacing chickens, stuffed chickens, chickens to measure and compare, books about chickens, and much more!
The “EGG-CITEMENT” was CONTAGIOUS! All the children in the center were coming to visit the incubator and so were their parents. We were eagerly awaiting the birth of our little chicks and keeping a calendar to mark off the days. We made and decorated a “brooder box” for the baby chicks to live in once they hatched.
On day 18, the last day we were to turn the eggs we candled them all one final time and created a classroom graph to determine which eggs we thought would hatch. Our “egg-spectation”… 12.
Day 21 finally came and sure enough 1 egg (number 14) began to “pip” (crack) and within 4 hours we had 4 eggs wiggling about and slowly but surely cracking. The children were sad to leave at the end of the day but I assured them I would stay and take care of the chicks, videoing them as they hatch.
At 9:17 p.m. the first little chick, which we named “Uno”, was fully hatched. He is yellow with a black spot on his tail and is doing wonderfully. By the next morning, we had 4 chicks and by day 22 we had 7 chicks in total. Three yellow chicks and 4 black ones; aptly called “The Steeler Chicks”.
Our class learned so many things from this project! From life cycles to temperatures, size, comparisons, graphing, observation skills, and maybe most importantly, patience, along with so much more! It is an “egg-sperience” the children will never forget!
Where will these chicks live now? Four are going to families in our classroom who live in a rural area and are able to raise chickens. The last 3 will be going to live at Ms. Chriss’ house, where her husband is building a chicken coop as we speak.
It will be a wonderful way for the children to be able to keep in touch with their chicks for months and years to come. Who knows, maybe we will do this project again in the spring to add to our chicken family!
Submitted by Chriss Henderson, Assistant Director Just Us Kids/East Maiden
Southwest Regional Key, Washington County Keystone STARS 4 Facility Kid Biz LLC