First Graders Study Chicks
Hatching a Lesson on Animal Lifecycles: First Graders Study Chicks for Spring Science Project
Posted on 05/06/2021
This is the image for the news article titled Hatching a Lesson on Animal Lifecycles: First Graders Study Chicks for Spring Science Project“I can’t wait to see their little faces!”

First grader Jase Andrus squirmed with excitement as he and his classmates from Lizzie Curtis Elementary made the trek to their school’s “chick room” for the first time.

Students from Lizzie Curtis Elementary observe chicks as part of a science lesson on animal life cycles.
 Northwest ISD elementary schools incubated a total of 297 chicken eggs and hatched 168 chicks this spring.

Every spring, dozens of eggs are incubated and hatched in elementary schools across Northwest ISD. This year, schools incubated a total of 297 eggs and hatched 168 chicks. The project, which is part of the first grade unit that studies animal life cycles, gives students a chance to see science in action.

 Newly-hatched chicks are observed via a livestream feed in Northwest ISD classrooms.
 Students get the chance to observe newly-hatched chicks through a livestream feed in their classrooms or at home.

Jake and the other students in Mrs. Waterman’s first-grade class had observed the eggs and chicks through a livestream feed for several weeks, and were getting their first chance to see the animals in person.

“Science comes to life with this unit,” Waterman said. “Not everyone has a pet, so this allows kids to get hands-on experience with an animal.”

 First grade teacher Sarah Waterman shows students a newly-hatched chick.
 Mrs. Waterman's first grade class at Lizzie Curtis Elementary visited their school's "chick room" to see the chicks in person for the first time.

Waterman said students study the entire process from collecting the eggs to putting them in the incubator and waiting 21 days for hatching. During one stage, teachers “candle” the eggs by shining a light through them so students can check the progress of the chick inside the egg.

 Students at Justin Elementary designed their version of chicken coops as a project.
 Students completed many projects to show what they learned about chicks, including building their own versions of chicken coops.

All the while, students are keeping journals, creating habitats, designing posters and reporting all they’ve learned.

Each campus has a unique way of sourcing the eggs and rehoming the chicks, but many are borrowed from local farms and returned to the farmers right before they learn to fly.

 Salt and Pepper were hatched two years ago at Justin Elementary and now call the school's courtyard home.
 Salt and Pepper were hatched at Justin Elementary two years ago and now live in a coop in the school's courtyard. Students regularly stop by to read to the chickens.

Families from Justin Elementary donated eggs from ducks and quail, in addition to the chicken eggs, for students to study.

The campus is also home to two full-grown chickens — Salt and Pepper — who were hatched two years ago at the school and live in a coop in the school’s courtyard. Classes visit the pair during the school day to read to them and feed them.

 Librarian Kelly Suarez holds a naked neck chick for students to observe.
 Librarian Kelley Valdez holds a "naked neck" chick for students at Roanoke Elementary to observe.

Roanoke Elementary hatched a unique breed of chicken this year, called a naked neck, which doesn’t have feathers on part of its head and neck. It was a great opportunity to talk to students about diversity in animals, said Librarian Kelley Valdez.

“We spent some time talking about, ‘Why does something have to be wrong with it just because it looks different?’” she said. “This is that memorable experience they will have for a lifetime.”