Teachers introduce fresh ideas to science students
- Written by Kathy Parks
Science lab transformed into springtime chick hospital Spring is in the air and Park Lakes Elementary has enjoyed hearing the patter of little feet, or rather, the peeping of little chicks. As part of the curriculum, science students learn about life cycles. In the past, they enjoyed projects involving frogs and butterflies, but this year, fifth-grade science teacher Angela Lentz secured 36 donated fertilized eggs. The program for grades K-6 was deemed a success and promises to become a repeat performance. “Angela’s parents generously donated the eggs and an incubator for the classroom,” said science lab teacher Daphne Trumbull, who oversaw the project. She said the students learned a lot about life cycles and the staff learned a lot about how the project could be enhanced in future years. For example, teachers plan to get automatic egg turners for future projects. “We were surprised so many hatched,” said Trumbull. “The eggs can rest for a little bit at 75 degrees, but once you raise the temperature to 100 degrees and rotate the eggs, the chicks begin to develop.” She said the eggs were marked to track how the eggs were being rotated. Students watched as teachers “candled” the eggs to see the appearance of the air cells as the chicks matured inside the eggs. Older students talked about genetics and guessed the color of the chicks. A hen with black feathers was used, but the majority of the students guessed chicks would be hatched yellow. They were all surprised to see the overwhelming number of black chicks. Only one chick was identified as a rooster. “We started the project on Martin Luther King Day and it takes 21 days after the temperature is raised for the chicks to hatch,” said Trumbull. “It just so happened they hatched on our in-service day, so the students were not on campus. Photos and video were taken to share with the students. It was exciting.” Trumbull said the students loved the project and the science teachers plan to try the chick project again next year. She said she was surprised to learn, out of 500 students, only a handful had ever seen a live chick prior to the school’s project. Twenty-eight of the 36 eggs hatched. As Trumbull looked forward to next year’s project, she said the school may be able to sell, auction off or even phase the chicks into the high school’s 4-H program. This year’s set of hatched chicks will be returned to Lentz’s parents, where they will have a nice home. Photos: (Top) Science teachers Daphne Trumbull and Angela Lentz lead the chick project for grades K-6. (Bottom) Students watched and documented the development of chicks. Most predicted yellow chicks and were surprised at the number of black chicks hatched.