Walking On Eggshells: Biology class raises chicks


[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]Teacher Christie Caldwell and her AP Biology classes have undertaken a new project to better illustrate embryonic development and animal behavior: raising chicks.

During a 21-day incubation period, the classes watched the 12 eggs throughout the development process, four of the eggs making it to full-term. However, only three of those chicks survived, a good statistic according to senior Jacob Cheatham.

“This year is kind of our first year [hatching chicks], so we kind of just did it for fun, just to see if we could do it,” Cheatham said. “They say about 25 percent of [the eggs] should hatch your first year and we got 3 out of 12, so it was pretty successful.”

While the students are still unsure of the chicks’ genders, they have given them Muppet-inspired names: Gonzo, Raz and Nugget and will be sending them to junior Taylin Whitrock’s farm in the near future.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”2/3″][image_with_animation image_url=”9239″ animation=”Fade In” img_link_target=”_self” img_link_large=”yes”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_column_text]

“I kind of talked Ms.Caldwell into [taking the chicks home] because she knew that I had a home for them afterwards and I brought food for them and things like that,” Whitrock said. “I’ve had chickens previously as pets, so I know a lot about how to take care of them and how to handle them.”

Raising the chicks also gave the classes a hands-on experience often left out of the typical classroom routine.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]“There’s just so many real-life connections that come from [hatching the chicks] that I never would have imagined,” Caldwell said. “A lot of people have never seen or held a chicken, and you know, only seen it on their plate. The development from a fertilized egg to an actual organism is an amazing process for them.”

While the chicks may be losing their baby feathers, they make up for it in the distinct personalities each one is forming.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][nectar_slider location=”Chick story” arrow_navigation=”true” desktop_swipe=”true” loop=”true” slider_height=”650″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]

photos by Hannah Arnold and Megan Oosthuizen

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]“The [chick] who hatched first, grew the fastest but it’s funny because the youngest [chick] is the most aggressive,” Cheatham said. “They’ll run and chase each other around, like one of them will get a bug and chase the other ones around, it’s funny.”

Hoping to use the chicks to teach elementary students about animal life one day, both Caldwell and her students have declared this project as successful, and will continue doing it every year.

“This project was more of an exploratory science project for me, as my first year trying to figure out how it would work,” Caldwell. “It was definitely a success. I learned a lot from it and the exposure is just amazing.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]