Lessons for a Lifetime…..
Do you remember how you learned about the life cycle?
Second graders all across the county will be learning about the life cycle this year. I have seen posters and replicas of frogs, butterflies, turtles, and chickens in classrooms. Some students have a bowl of frog eggs or a butterfly hut in their classroom. Caldwell County 4-H Youth Development is partnering with four elementary schools and multiple teachers who will be teaching the life cycle through the study of embryology and embryo growth. Yes, hatching chicks in the classroom!
Maybe you had a similar elementary experience? Having lunch at Whitnel Elementary School during a hatch last spring reminded me of the excitement that comes with learning through experience. I am not really sure how the second grade teachers got their students to the cafeteria that day. I soon realized that while they were in the cafeteria, their hearts and minds were back in the classroom. The teachers and students were calling out to me simultaneously with excitement.
They had detailed reports to share…the number of eggs they had incubating, how many had hatched, how many were pipping, and what they were hoping for by tomorrow morning. The energy and excitement was contagious.
Fortunately, these learning experiences don’t just happen in the classroom. I had the privilege of being with some rising third graders at the Anita Alta outpost camp this summer when they discovered a frog laying eggs in the pond. The squeal of excitement drew the entire group to the edge. I arrived just in time to hear Emma call to her friend, Christina…”remember, this is what our teacher was asking us about. I told her I had never seen this, and here it is!” I have rich childhood memories of collecting frog eggs and returning pollywogs to the pond but, like Emma and Christina this was a first for me too. At the end of our week, all of the campers were asking for pictures of themselves, their friends, and the frog laying eggs.
While it is still winter, we can all recite a list of the ways we will experience the life cycle in the coming months. If you are interested in learning more about embryology there are lots of resources. This link http://poultry4hyouth.ces.ncsu.edu/embryology/ will bring you to a page full of video, articles, posters and more. A “web cam embryology” search led me to the University of Nebraska. Lancaster County 4-H has a live web camera on an incubator as I write this article. The hatch should happened before this article is published, but you may still get a view if they are running a brooder. http://lancaster.unl.edu/4h/embryology/eggcameravideo.shtml I would recommend using this search as spring approachs; other programs/schools will be engaged in the same set up. If you would like to learn more about how your classroom can incubate chicken eggs, please call us at Caldwell County Cooperative Extension, 828.757.1290.