Mr. Giggles, Cottonball and Fluffy are the three newest members of our Grade 2 population, after the trio of baby chicks hatched in class Tuesday morning. The egg hatching project is part of a larger study on life cycles of different living things, including humans, chickens, ducks and plants.
“The kids will remember this their whole lives. They’ll never forget raising chicks and ducks in Grade 2; they’re watching life happen before their eyes,” says Grade 2 teacher Ms. Nina Duffus. “If you read a book about a chick they won’t remember it. They just learn so much more by experiencing it firsthand and by doing it.”
Grade 2 students returned from Spring Break to find fertilized eggs incubating in both classrooms. Three of the first set of eggs – the chicks – hatched this week, while the hope is that up to seven duck eggs will hatch next week.
“They’ve been watching the eggs, they watched them actually come out of the shell, we’ve been reading and watching videos and learning about what will happen and how it changes,” Nina says. “They’re learning about life and death. We’ve already opened one that didn’t make it – a beak came through but it died before it hatched – so we see what it’ll look like as it was ready to be hatched.”
In addition to the excitement around the arrival of the chicks, and the optimism surrounding next week’s ducklings, the students are also learning about the life cycle of a bean plant.
“They have all planted seeds and are watching their bean plants sprout and take off every day, too. Generally they would be quite excited about watching their plants grow, but the plants are definitely taking a back seat to the chicks,” Nina says with a laugh. “One of the kids said breathlessly after we planted the seeds, ‘Chicks and plants? Grade 2 just can’t get any better than this!’”
As part of the life cycles curriculum, students are learning that all living things have a life cycle; they learn that offspring eventually look like their parents (but not always at birth); they compare the needs of humans, chicks, ducks and plants; and they learn what is necessary for life and to sustain life.
The students are learning about the in-class incubators and heaters, and how the technology takes the place of the mother for the baby chicks.
Nina says the classes will keep the chicks and the ducks as long as possible, before the chicks are returned to farms up-Island (where their eggs came from) and the ducks are brought to a different farm.
“They are just so engaged by this, and not only the Grade 2s, but the whole school,” Nina says. I arrive in the morning and kids from all grades are watching me get out of my car because they want to go inside and see the chicks. After school we have parents and students from all grades coming in – it’s really become a community project.”
(photos by Kyle Slavin)