• How We Learn: Sample Projects
  • Kindergarten


Hatching Life Lessons in Kindergarten

"The chicks started out as tiny embryos inside of the egg shell. The eggs were green, brown, and white, and we had 18 of them. We put the eggs in an incubator. An incubator is something that will keep the eggs warm while they grow, at 101 degrees. We added water to keep the eggs a little moist, just like the mother hen does. The chicks grew and grew inside the egg. We took a little light thing, a candler, and shone it underneath the egg to see if something was growing. We could see blood vessels and dots. That could be the baby chicks. After twenty-one days, we could see holes in the eggs and little beaks. We made charts to show what was happening. The chicks peeped and talked to each other inside their shells just like birds in a nest do. Fourteen hatched. One chick that hatched tried and tried to live but didn't make it because he wasn't as strong as the others. Three eggs did not hatch. We put those eggs into the woods to be eaten by animals. We put the hatched chicks in the brooder. We put water and chick baby food in with them—it's called starter mash. We put a light on the brooder to keep the baby chicks warm. At first they just had fluffy stuff-down. Then they began to grow feathers. There are yellow and black and gray ones. When they take a drink, they put the water in their mouths, tip their heads back, and let the water slide down their throats.

"We just weighed the chicks. We put them into a balance scale and used Digiblocks to see how many would balance with them. The black one weighed 7 Digiblocks on day #1, 16 digis on day # 6, and 20 digis on day #8. They are growing a lot. The chicks are changing. They are growing wing feathers and learning how to fly. We keep a screen on the brooder so they don't jump out and fly around the classroom.

"The best thing about the chicks is that they are so cute and adorable. And I am learning things from them."

—Kindergartener, 2003

Teacher's Comment: Our farm unit in the spring includes study of soil, plants, bees, the life cycles of worms, and, as explained above, we follow the progress of chicken embryo development from egg to hatching, recording observations and measurements through drawing, writing, and graphing. We explore local farms, and we learn about farming around the world. As we learn about different animals in different countries, we use fibers from some of them for spinning and weaving. We read stories about weaving, do word searches on the subject "fiber," and create a grid to categorize fibers by color, texture, and use. A culminating activity is a visit to a local site of the International Heifer Project.