BREAKING OUT CHICKS GIVE STUDENTS SOMETHING TO PEEP ABOUT.
VALENCIA - Valley View Elementary teacher Karla Hicks put all her eggs in one basket for her third-grade students - and hatched some serious learning.
``I've been able to include 35 standards in this,'' she said, standing near a white incubator that was emitting faint peeping sounds. ``Math, division, fractions, research techniques, oral presentations, not to mention the life science.''
Hicks' class was a popular place Monday morning, as children trooped in to see four newly hatched chickens in the heated enclosure. Twenty days before, her class received 24 eggs assumed to be fertile that students prepared for the incubator that would eventually yield a flock of chirping birds.
``We had one casualty,'' Hicks said. ``It was dropped accidentally.''
On Day 8, the class ``candled'' the eggs with a film strip projector to see the air sac and the embryo, which looks like a question mark. Three proved fertile, and the 20 remaining eggs remained in the incubator.
``And they're hatching today,'' Hicks said.
Around a white board that proclaimed ``Welcome Daisy, Lucy, Billy Bob and Ralph,'' Hicks' pupils quietly wrote pages for their chicken books, filled with facts garnered through their research and hands-on experience.
The children learned to wash their hands before touching the eggs, which had to be turned over three times a day in the 99-degree atmosphere. Each shell was carefully marked with an X and an 0 so they would know which side should be up at the turning times. A calendar created by pupil Tom Fellbaum's mother noted the different development steps and reminders for the care of the hoped-for chicks.
``Mrs. Fellbaum offered the incubator and arranged for us to get the eggs from one of the vendors at the farmers market at the college,'' Hicks said. ``It's been amazing for the kids. They're learning so much more than they would without this experience.''
Hicks cut short a getaway last weekend when she heard there had been a power outage at the school, rushing back to take the eggs and incubator home so it could get back to the required temperature.
``All I could think was: Don't let this fail now, the kids have worked so hard and waited so long,'' she said.
Hicks was rewarded by a chirping sound Sunday night, when she noticed that one of the chicks had poked through its shell. Three more chicks made their appearance, at 5, 7 and 7:45 a.m., just in time for students to admire and cheer their arrival.
Hicks said the gender of each chicken will not be known for another four months.
``Lucy could be a rooster for all we know,'' Hicks joked.
Suddenly, one of the students cried ``Susie's hatching,'' prompting a rush to peek into the incubator at the fifth chick. Rachel McGowan did a little victory dance near the front of the room in celebration.
``I liked seeing them hatch,'' she said. ``And we learned a lot of science and some math, which is my favorite subject.''
As the yellow and brown chick moved lazily back and forth rocking its shell, Hicks showed some concern.
``I think I see blood in the water beneath it,'' she whispered. ``But this is part of the cycle that we all have to experience.''
Each student took some fun fact away from the experiment and the research it entailed.
``It's cool to know that chicken hearts can beat 315 times a minute,'' Ryan Myers said.
``I learned that chickens can run up to 9 miles per hour and that they cannot fly because of their delicate wings,'' added Brett Villalovos.
Annette Choi said the hatching process was exceptionally interesting and ``not as boring as it is in textbooks.'' Her desk partner, Alice Kim, was excited because her parents had given permission for her to bring one of the chickens home as a pet.
``I liked the life cycle so we can see what chickens look like as they grow,'' said Neo Shen. ``I was excited to come to school today.''
Carol Rock, (661) 257-5252
(1 -- color) Students in Karla Hicks' third-grade class check out newly hatched chicks in an incubator the kids had been keeping an eye on.
(2 -- 3 -- color) Baby chicks get their bearings, above, after hatching in Karla Hicks' third-grade class at Valley View Elementary. At left, a calendar records data on the progress of the hatching process.
David Crane/Staff Photographer
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|Publication:||Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)|
|Date:||Mar 2, 2005|
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