Bringing Education to Life

Published on Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Community

Marcellus Elementary students incubate chickens

Students in Ann Smith’s class at Marcellus Elementary created some fun memories while learning about animals this past school year. In the fall, the students studied the life cycle of a wild cat, frog and chicken. Then, in the spring, the lessons came to life.

With funds from a Strengthening Schools Grant, Smith purchased two egg incubators, heat lamps, bedding and food, so her students could experience first-hand the beginning of life for chickens. They started with 43 eggs, and waited patiently until about 21 days later, when Elvis Presley, Cheeto, Larry the Cable Chick and several other chickens pecked their way into the world

“I really like watching them develop and hatch,” said third-grader Burton Crabtree. A chicken-hatching “pro,” Burton’s family has 30 chickens of their own, and he’s worked with hatchlings for four years. As a result, Burton became responsible for feeding and providing water for the chicks in his classroom. The other students participated by periodically holding the chicks who lived in a brood box at the front of the room until they became big enough to go home.

“This has been an incredible project, and the kids have been so excited throughout the whole experience. Incubation is a very delicate process. Humidity and temperature must be exactly right at all times, and it was very valuable for the students to experience that.” said Smith. In fact, the project was so popular that the preschool borrowed one of the incubators to make a brood of their own, and even some high schoolers got in on the action when a couple of chicks visited their classroom for a day. “They enjoyed it as much as the younger kids. All this education and enjoyment is thanks to MEC,” stated Smith.

Learn More about Strengthening Schools Grants