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Hatching Chicks

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 Two of the schools that EdTech EASE works with include hatching chicks as part of their elementary science curriculum. This made me curious as to why this process was included in their curriculums. For both schools, this is part of a larger science curriculum. As part of their science curriculum, the first and second graders in these schools study life cycles in nature. Students learn about life cycles of plants and bean seeds to see firsthand how roots, stems, and leaves develop.They examined the life cycles of butterflies, fish, and frogs Their studies culminated with learning about the life cycle of the chicken while incubating a brood of chicks! But the science is just the start.

These students also had the opportunity to practice their social emotional, I like to call them... life skills. They had the opportunity to nurture another living being. That is something we want our children to learn how to do.

These fortunate students took part in a hands-on lesson on how to nurture as well as protect.

The students watched the embryos develop within the egg. Explanations were given in how to hold the egg as the students performed a candling experiment (shining a light at the inside of the developing egg to see if the embryo is developing). During the incubation time, the students took their role of protectors very seriously. One teacher had brought in a large enclosure to safeguard the eggs. The young students were instructed as to the fragile nature of the eggs as the chicks develop. So, they made signs explaining the need to be careful around the enclosure and not to walk past the tape that marked off a safe distance from the enclosure. This was done for the benefit of the other students in the schools who came to observe the process through visitations.

Finally, the students experienced the excitement of having healthy chicks hatch! One of the schools shared that event with the whole school through the live streaming of the hatching to a TV stationed outside the first-grade classroom. This area of the school became very popular for the two days of hatching. Students and teachers found reasons to walk by the video feed.

After the hatching, the students are integrating their science skills with observations as well as the social emotional skills with monitoring and protecting the development of the chicks as they begin to grow. As each grade visited the chicks, the students are their guides in holding the chicks gently. To culminate this hands-on experience in one school, each first-grader will get to take the chicks home to care for them overnight. They also will eventually need to handle separation as the chicks are given up for adoption to local farms.

This idea of integrating social emotional learning reminds me of an article I read just this afternoon from the opinion column in Education Week ( find at @EdWeekComm on Twitter) The article was titled, Your Objections to Whole-Child Education Aren't Wrong. They're Just Outdated. It referred to the arguments for more academic early learning versus more a social-emotional whole child focus. The idea exposed was that today social-emotional skills can be (and should be in my opinion) a vital integrated part of curriculums. I don't think this needs to stop at early childhood. Strong academic opportunities can be paired with practical social emotional learning experiences.

How are you teaching social emotional skill within the academics of your classroom? Share your ideas with EdTech EASE on Twitter (@edtechease) or Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/edtechease/) or email me, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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