BUFFALO — Some students at Buffalo Elementary School got to learn a little bit about the cycle of life this semester by observing the incubation and hatching of baby chickens in their classrooms.
Second grade teacher Teri Lawson said that each spring the school’s second grade classrooms study the animal life cycle over the course of the three weeks it takes for a baby chicken to develop within and hatch out of an egg.
“Every year we study animals and life cycles as part of our animal unit,” Lawson said. “We start out with eggs and put them in an incubator for 21 days. Each second grade classroom has its own incubator. We get them from Mark Cathcart.”
Then there’s the chart the students use to help them keep track of the developments going on within the eggs.
“We have a chart so that the children know what’s going on in the egg each day,” Lawson said. “They know when the cycle begins and ends.”
While the incubator remains closed for most of those 21 days, the sound of chirping as the chickens begin hatching is a sign to open it up and allow the students to watch the baby chickens emerge.
“They hatch right in the classroom,” Lawson said. “When we hear the chirping we lift the lid so we can see as much of the hatching out of the shell as possible.”
In addition to watching the process, Lawson said the class also talks about what’s happening inside the eggs, including how the chickens get through the shell, their food, and the air pocket within the shell.
Sometimes, unfortunately, some of the eggs don’t hatch, and Lawson said this reality is not hidden from the children.
“They learn about that, too,” Lawson said.
After the chickens hatch, Lawson said they are kept in the incubator for another two-three days “to let them dry and then let the children hold them.”
The baby chickens remain in the class for a week before Cathcart comes to the school and takes them to his farm.
Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090.