Thursday, June 19, 2014

What Happens When....

...the eggs don't hatch!

Our classroom of grade two students, were very excited when their teachers introduced the idea of learning about the life cycle of a chicken. Their class would watch and care for eggs that would be in the incubator, those eggs would hatch and they would have baby chicks in their classroom. And so, the inquiry began!

The teachers rented an incubator, bought fertilized eggs and waited for the eggs to hatch. All of the students could hardly contain their excitement. It turned out to be a school wide event. Everyone was counting down the days for the big hatch! We even had a team of staff members that came into the school on weekends to turn the eggs over twice a day.

Students started researching, asking questions and wondering about the life cycle. Their teachers gathered books, read stories, explored other life cycles and compared them. This group of grade two students were writing, reading, learning, asking questions and wondering. It was perfect!

Except, day 21 came and went, still no chicks! WHAT HAPPENS WHEN...the eggs don't hatch! What would you do?

Well, our teachers jumped into action, and called a local farmer to order 6, day old chicks. But first, they would have to set the stage. They drew cracks on the eggs, made little holes, and spent the day talking about how the eggs would probably hatch during the night. The students were so excited when they left school that day, and we heard from parents, that many of the students could not sleep that night.

Once the students were home for the evening,  our teachers "planted" the chicks! Yeah, the chicks had arrived, and the next day, the class spent most of their time sitting and watching the chicks.

The chicks stayed at school for two days, every classroom came to visit the chicks. The grade two students shared their learning and observations. They started a survey, "What is your favourite name for a chick?" Just so you know, the name Fluffy, had the most votes.

On the night the chicks were going to be delivered to the farm, our students left the school, crying and talking about how they would miss the chicks. This inquiry will be an experience these children will never forget!  Check out our 'Animoto' movie here!

What would you do? Please share!

P.S. Don't let your students google "chicks" in images!


  1. I have hatched chickens for ten years now. I get the eggs from the hatchery less than a week before their hatching date. If some of them don't hatch I go back to the hatchery and get some fully and some partially hatched eggs. That way the children can watch a few hatch. I keep the chicks for about two weeks. We do lots of observation. When does the egg tooth fall off? Are they male or female? (You can tell within the first day by the formation of the wing) How do they sleep? What do they eat when we take them outside? Is there an evident pecking order? When do they start to lose their down? We read lots of non-fiction books and from them the questions flow. We keep going back and looking at the chicks to get the answers to our questions

  2. Hi Rhonda, Wow, that's amazing! I wish our students could have watched a few hatch. We will have to remember your idea of going back to the hatchery for some fully and some partially hatched eggs! Thanks for sharing!