Normandy students nurture eggs and watch them hatch

Normandy first-graders, left-to-right, explaining how to incubate chicken eggs: Payton Masterson, Logan Lowry, Jake Bennett and Sloane Kerber.

Twenty-one days. That is how long students at Normandy Elementary School in Bay Village had to wait for their classroom chicken eggs to hatch.

During that wait, students studied what was going on inside those white shells. Using a 21-day set of plastic egg models, they opened one per day to view illustrations of the changes in the chick embryos' progressive development.

First-grader Jake Bennett explained the difference between an egg that would become a chick and one that would not. “Inside the egg,” he said, “there is a red dot that is a blood cell. If the egg has that, a chick will grow.” The students knew that the eggs they had would become chicks because they came from birds raised for that purpose.

“You can also tell if an egg will grow into a chick because both the hen and the rooster will take care of it,” said Logan Lowry. “If there is no chick, only the hen will take care of it.”

Jake also explained that different features of the chick develop in a predictable way. “The beak grows on the sixth day," he said. “The egg tooth grows on the tenth day. That's used by the chick to peck its way out of the shell."

“We kept the eggs in an incubator,” explained Peyton Masterson, when asked how the students could take care of the eggs when their mother hens were not around to help.

“We had to make sure the incubator always had water,” added Sloane Kerber. She said that the water kept the moisture, or humidity, in the incubator where it should be. She added that the temperature also had to be kept at 100 degrees Fahrenheit. In addition, the eggs had to be turned slowly, four times a day with a special egg turner, for each of the first 18 days.

Logan explained that the developing chicks found their nourishment inside the egg. “Every day, the chick would be eating the yolk inside the egg to grow,” he said.

He added, “There is a cord, like everyone has, that would feed it.” He clarified that the cord went to the belly button.

Peyton said that once the feathers dry, the newly-hatched chicks can come out of the incubator, but still need to be kept warm. Just hatched, the chicks weighed less than a quarter ounce, but they soon grew to weigh more than an ounce, a math lesson amid the life sciences lessons.

Since there was no mother hen in the classroom to model eating behavior, teacher Jen Szelesta showed the chicks how to eat by “pecking” at the seed with her finger. She said the project was part of the students’ learning about how things grow, what animals need to grow, and how people need to care for animals to help them grow.

Sloan explained, “We need to treat the animals nicely, and then they will be nice to us, too.”

Chicks from the first-grade classroom of Jen Szelesta, and from the second-grade classrooms of Cathy Bogart, Stacey Evans and Lindsay Rinehart, were sent to a local egg producer when their educational lessons were completed.

Karen Derby

Director of Communications for the Bay Village City School District

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Volume 9, Issue 11, Posted 10:14 AM, 06.06.2017