Lucille Aranzullo-Northrup’s pre-Kindergarten students at Perkins School recently witnessed 11 chicks enter the world.
The chicks’ long-awaited arrival was met with awe and wonder by the excited children. It was the culmination of more than three weeks of waiting for the animals to emerge from their shells.
After getting the eggs from Newark Middle School special education teacher Rebecca Moon, the eggs were placed in an incubator in the classroom. Students used a calendar to track the typical 21 days for chicks to hatch, marking off each day as they waited for the big reveal.
Aranzullo-Northrup said the students also occasionally candled the eggs with a flashlight to see if the chicks were developing properly. She said students were amazed to hear the chicks’ heartbeat as they listened with a stethoscope.
A few days from their recent hatch date, candling revealed the chick’s air sacs in the top of the egg.
Aranzullo-Northrup told her students the chicks would pop their air sacs just before pipping, or pecking, a hole through the eggshell to hatch.
“Once they hatched, some of them asked, ‘where did he come from?’ and I told them ‘he lives inside the egg,’” Aranzullo-Northrup said.
Throughout the egg-incubating and hatching project, students chronicled their experiences through writing, reading, math, art and music. The project was part of a unit of study on farms, what lives on them and what happens there in the spring.
“Beyond the math, science, literacy and other lessons learned, there is something to be learned about observation,” Aranzullo-Northup said. “In this technological time when we push a button and information pops up immediately, the children learned that even when it seemed nothing was happening on the outside, lots was happening on the inside. When we candled the eggs and listened to the heartbeat with a stethoscope, children began to understand that something was happening. When the chicks pipped and hatched, children were in stunned wonder about what was happening. Certainly we can see that process on YouTube, but it is poor replacement for the actual process.”
As for the chicks, Aranzullo-Northrup said Moon will take six of them and Perkins teacher assistant Traci Carr will take the other five, as her son would like to have his own little flock.