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~ K-2 Overview


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Farm Visits

Second Grade Unit: ENGAGE



• Animals have life cycles that include being born, developing into adults, reproducing, and eventually dying. The details of this life cycle are different for different organisms.


Incubate fertilized chicken eggs. Arrange a home for them in advance, preferably at the farm you will visit during this week; baby chicks need a proper home shortly after birth. The period of incubation for chicks is twenty one days. Days before hatching you will be able to hear the chicks peeping inside. Begin incubating the chicks in advance and introduce them on the first day of the Eggs! Unit.


Incubator, fertile chicken eggs, brooder, candling device and automatic egg turner. Although, some prefer turning eggs by hand daily for 21 days, we recommend purchasing an automatic egg turner to improve on the success rate for hatching eggs. For the newborn chicks you will need a lamp, cage, waterer, feed tray, and chick feed. EggNchick.pdf. Copy of Millicent Selsam, Egg to Chick.



1. Begin incubating the chicks two weeks in advance. You might want to keep this a secret until egg week. That way, the final week of incubation (it takes 21 days) will be all about life cycles and eggs, and the wait will not be too long for this age-level. Keep notes of any important events that might effect the outcome of the experiment, such as power outages or temperature variations.

2. When the eggs are about two weeks along, present the students with the experiment underway. Students can mark the eggs with an "X" in pencil to help illustrate how the eggs are turned each day (turning is a natural consequence of the hens constant reordering of the eggs to insure that each egg gets adequate warmth. )

3. Show pictures of baby chicks (EggNchick.pdf)

4. Have ten students crouch down, pretending to get into make-believe eggs as if they will hatch. Tell the students the average hatch rate for your chickens (ask the hatchery). In the case of Dominique chickens from Murray McMurray, the hatch rate is 7 out of 10. In this case, touch seven of the little chicks and tell all the chicks that if they have been touched on the head, they will hatch. The children watch and wait as you count to 21 (representing the days to hatch). Three of them will not hatch. This is an opportunity to get the students used to the idea that not all eggs hatch. Perhaps they did not get fertilized. Perhaps the chick wasn't growing properly and simply failed to develop. There are any number of natural causes. (Try to choose students who will be able to remember that they are not to hatch, and able to handle that fact emotionally. )

5. After sharing your incubation notes from the previous weeks, have students make an educated guess about how many eggs will successfully hatch.

6. Inquiry: How many hatched? How were our results relative to the averages for the hatchery?


1. Read and Discuss: Millicent Selsam, Egg to Chick, a Reading Rainbow book illustrated by Barbara Wolff.

2. Read: Inside an Egg by Kiyoshi Shimizu


FOSSweb published on-line by the Lawrence Hall of Science (LHS), University of California at Berkeley. LHS is a trusted source of educational support materials and FOSS is a leader in hands-on, inquiry-based activities. They offer an embryology unit with support materials. See: www. lawrencehallofscience. org/foss/fossweb/teachers
/materials/plantanimal/chickeneggs. html

Navigating the Unit

2nd - 5 E Summary
2nd - Engage
2nd - Explore
2nd - Explain
2nd - Expand
2nd - Evaluate
2nd - Supplement
2nd - Embryology Project

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Copyright 2006.

American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, PO Box 477, Pittsboro, NC 27312