NEW HAVEN, W.Va. — Easter signifies new life, and two classes at New Haven Elementary School were able to view new life through a special project just in time for the holiday.
Students in Shayla Blackshire’s fourth grade and Courtney Smith’s preschool classes recently incubated chicken and duck eggs, respectively.
The preschool class, which was also assisted by Aide Donna Scaggs, started incubating a clutch of Pekin duck eggs on March 8. The eggs were donated by Clifton Long.
During the month, the youngsters learned about which animals lay eggs, the life cycle of a duck, and how to make a nest. A child-sized nest provided a means of allowing the children to try one out for themselves, according to Smith.
The children “candled” the eggs several times to let them see inside and observe the growth process. Once the eggs hatch, they will return to Braxton County. Each child will receive a rubber duck and certificate of adoption to commemorate the process.
Blackshire’s class has been learning about life cycles since October when they began their “Trout in the Classroom” project. In March, however, they began studying the life cycle of chicks.
The fourth graders learned about the poultry industry and the many different breeds of chickens. They were also told of how “backyard” chickens are becoming more and more prevalent as families are producing their own eggs, said Blackshire.
The older students also used a light to “candle” the eggs to test for viability during the 21-day incubation period. The children looked for veins and movement of the embryos.
Blackshire said when the eggs began to hatch, the students noticed the chicks were not all yellow as many people believe. They also observed the chicks’ “egg teeth” that allow them to “break out” of the shell. These teeth usually fall off within 24 hours.
At the end of the project on Thursday several students, who had received their parents’ permission, were able to take the live chicks home.
Both classes received community support for their projects. In preschool, Long donated the duck eggs, and Sean Cullen loaned the class his incubator. In Blackshire’s class, Four Seasons Farm and Jordan and Sony Roush donated the eggs. Incubators were supplied by Sean Cullen, along with Delton and Brenda Huffman, and Point Pleasant Ag Service gave the students containers to transport their chicks, as well as a free bag of food.
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Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.