Last term our Year 1 classes have been looking after eggs, which hatched into chicks in our care. This was done to add the “awe and wonder / wow factor” to our lessons. It tied very well into our chosen Literacy text – Egg Drop by Mini Grey, and gave us plenty of opportunites to tie into our topic.
Getting Started With the Eggs.
We got our eggs from Living Eggs, but there are plenty of other companies that will supply you with eggs a short Google away. They arrived at round lunchtime on the day of delivery, slightly disappointing as we had hoped to have them in time for our morning literacy lesson, not the end of the world though!
Everything you need to look after the eggs, then the chicks is provided for you along with a handbook detailing each step of the journey. This included a great poster detailing the chicks growth inside the egg upto the hatching day.
The chicks were predicted to, and did hatch on the 3rd day. This was brilliant, especially as their hatching synced perfectly with our lesson planning! 🙂 We were supposed to be keeping the eggs for 10 days, but we got a couple of bonus days which extended us keeping them until the end of the week.
Planning The Work.
We received a link to planning resources that have been prepared by the company, some of these were good and appropriate, others we aimed at older children, but they did include useful video clips and some good still images.
We knew that we wanted this to be the focus point of the half-term and the base for all of our topic work easily lending itself to Science, PSHE and Literacy intergration. When we had read the book with the class this gave us a door into D&T too, designing and making flying machines.
This term I had also chosen as being the term to introduce Twitter to the staff and children in my year group. The excitement and speed of developments of the chicks made this a good choice for Twitter. (I’ve written another post about using Twitter in Year 1, if you want to read more just about that.) We based our Literacy work around each child creating their own diary while the eggs and chicks were with us. This worked really well, the children were keen to write about the chicks, which was supported by both their physical writing in the diary and their writing on Twitter.
It took a reasonable amount of planning on a practical level. We have 3 classes in our year group so we had to plan a routine to ensure that all children got some time to visit and spend with the chicks every day. We also rotated the chicks around the classrooms over the 2 weeks. This meant that the first class had the eggs up until they started to hatch, then another got them in their first few days as they grew into fluffy cute chicks. The third class (mine) got them as they grew bigger still and developed feathers and patterning, by now we were hoping to keep the girls so named them for homework. Maybe next time I would rotate them around the classes more frequently so that the children got longer to see them at each stage.
The largest practical consideration is what to do with them over the weekend, in the end one of our teachers took them back to their house in the car and returned them to school on Monday. If you didn’t have someone prepared to do this on your staff it could be problematic – however we weren’t short of volunteers when all our other classes and staff had come for a visit and fallen in love with the cute chicks!
Taking It Further.
Next time I would be tempted to make more of the other classes visiting us to see the chicks, taking the opportunity to make the pupil the expert and tell the other children the facts that they had learnt. I would try to find a company that had a Twitter presence to make the impact of using that stronger.
We were offered the opportunity to keep them if we could provide suitable homes. So if you are out in the countryside you could give them to children’s families to keep at home. We however, are in an urban area but do have a school garden so were able to keep the 3 girls we had after we bought a coup and run for them and made it fox proof. This means that as a school we’ll get more value out of having them and gives other classes more opportunities to extend the learning.
Having the eggs, and then the chicks was a brilliant experience, both children and adults loved it and it certainly provided some awesome learning opportunities. I will certainly be doing it again if I’m still in Year 1.