Jaison Yoders, Trenton Cooley, Evelyn Lansford enjoyed welcoming their new arrivals!

Hatching ag education in local elementary schools

Farm Bureau volunteer & retired teacher Connie Crawford conducts 'egg'speriments with the students at Stanton Elementary School.
Farm Bureau volunteer and retired teacher Connie Crawford conducts ‘egg’speriments with the students at Stanton Elementary School.

This spring, in spite of the continuing frigid temperatures outdoors, over 850 students in 12 elementary schools around Jefferson County enjoyed one of the many wonders of spring… the peeping of baby chicks! Thanks to Jefferson County Farm Bureau and its army of ChickQuest volunteers, students have experienced a month-long project where classrooms take on the responsibility of incubating eggs – monitoring temperature and humidity on a daily basis until – and after 20-21 days, they are rewarded with watching their eggs hatch into chicks.

ChickQuest volunteers delivered and set-up the incubators, in most cases focusing on third grade classrooms and talked to teachers and students about how to care for the incubator. The volunteers then returned to the classrooms once a week to do STEM ‘egg’speriments with the students. Through this instruction children learned about the development of the egg and the lifecycle of a chicken.

They have also learned new vocabulary such as albumin, chalazae, osmosis, transparent, translucent, opaque and permeable. In addition they performed experiments to learn about how and why an egg is so strong, and what about the egg allows the chick to form inside. Some classrooms were even able to candle the eggs around day 5 and could see the tiny heart beating inside the shell. At Wells Academy the hatch came a bit early – but the teachers were prepared as they used Facebook Live to livestream their hatch on the school Facebook page on a Sunday afternoon.

Our 'Chicken Whisperers' at Wells Academy who were a huge help to the teachers (left to right)- Alivia Casinelli, Lucy Jo Saccoccia, Kylie David
Our ‘Chicken Whisperers’ at Wells Academy who were a huge help to the teachers (left to right)- Alivia Casinelli, Lucy Jo Saccoccia, Kylie David

Students also learned that eggs can come from a hatchery, or from a local farm. As long as the eggs are fertile, they will hatch! Many thanks to local farmer Ben Batenburg of Rayland as well as other farmers around the county for supplying many of the eggs used this spring!

The spring hatch has already completed at CAA of CC Wintersville Head Start.

Students at BJKM enjoy their chicks!
Students at BJKM enjoy their chicks!

West Elementary, Karaffa Elementary, Wells Academy, John Gregg Elementary, and North Elementary. Students at Stanton Elementary, Hills Elementary, Bishop John King Mussio Elementary, East Garfield Elementary and Jefferson County Christian School are currently monitoring their incubators with hatch dates expected between April 25 and May 5. Following those hatches, the ChickQuest incubators will travel to Wintersville Elementary and the School of Bright Promise to close out the 2018 hatch.

This project is possible due to the long hours of volunteers, cooperation with teachers and a grant obtained by the Jefferson County Farm Bureau this year from the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation.