CHESTERTON | The Bailly Elementary third-grade teaching team, composed of Mindy Balhoff, Sandy Campbell, Deanna Heslin and Mary Ann Martin, requested and received a grant project from the Duneland Education Foundation this school year.
The grant funds a chick hatching science experience for all of the school's third-graders.
Duneland Schools and Bailly Elementary have been committed to this project for 10 years. An initial grant from the Duneland Education Foundation for two brooder boxes was awarded in 2004, and the project has been conducted every year since.
“The students grow intellectually and emotionally from this project,” Campbell said. “They grow emotionally because they are responsible for the life of another living creature. They become invested in the care of the eggs, and are very careful to do everything just right.
"We cannot duplicate this type of learning through a textbook, a video or worksheets. The ‘hands-on’ learning they experience is remembered for years to come,” she said.
During the program, students become ‘eggs’perts in the development of chicken embryos, the hatching and the care of fertilized eggs that eventually become baby chicks. They learn about stages of development and for 21 days they act as "mother hens." They turn the eggs, monitor the temperature and humidity of the incubators, and anxiously wait to hear "peeps" emanating from within the eggs. During this time the students are able to observe the eggs and their hatching through the clear Plexiglass lids of the incubators. This ‘hands-on’ experience motivates students to embrace science and collaborative learning.
As part of the exploration of the living environment, the third-grade team requested to expand the chick hatching science experience to include all third-graders. The teachers can now buy two more brooder boxes, two more incubators and other pieces of equipment. Some other added items are a Chick Life Cycle Exploration Set, plastic eggs that shows each stage of development of the chick embryo; charts that show the embryo development through the adults; and OvaScopes to allow for thorough examination of the embryo development.
The students will learn about the life cycle of chickens while developing the character traits of caring, responsibility and trustworthiness. The students are responsible for the care of the egg and ensuring their own safety while handling the eggs. The students realize that what they do or do not do impacts the developing embryo.