Monday, April 2, 2018

March 2018

Our last few classes have focused on poultry.  We have discussed the different types of poultry raised on farms, and the purpose behind them.  The students learned the difference between meat breed, layer breeds, dual purpose breeds, and hobby or ornamental breeds.  One of their writing assignment choices was a compare and contrast activity with two different types, and those who selected that option did a wonderful job! 

The groups learned how eggs are developed inside the hen.  They also discussed the different parts of the egg and the basics of embryo development.  They were able to point out these different parts during our egg comparison activity.  We cracked two eggs: one from here on the farm and one from the grocery story.  After recognizing the parts of the egg, they compared the two for color and consistency.  I love how amazed they always are at the darkness of the yolk and the thickness of the albumen and membranes in the farm fresh eggs!

During our classes this month, they learned how to spot a "bad egg" in the kitchen by floating it in water, how to how to recognize the germinal disk on the yolk of a fertilized egg, and how to collect eggs for hatching vs. eating.  We discussed how the hens switch from laying "mode" to broody "mode".  They also learned how eggs that are layed at different times are able to hatch out on the same day and how the mama hen is able to stay on the nest for 3 days before having to get up and find food and water for her new chicks; they can live off of their recently absorbed yolk sac for 72 hours before needing anything!  These few classes have been simply packed with information!

The classes candled eggs to see the growing embryos inside, which is always amazing to see!  New chicks were hatching out today, and we set more chicken, duck, and turkey eggs in one of the incubators.  They learned about the differences in incubation needs for the different types of poultry.  Hopefully, we'll have more Bourbon Red turkey poults and Indian Runner ducklings next month!

This week, we focused a little on guinea fowl.  The class heard a Swahili folktale “How the Guinea Fowl Got Her Spots”.  We talked about the way different cultures use folktales to explain natural occurrences, and they had the option of writing their own folktale for today's writing assignment.  We heard students' tales of how the goat got its horns, why pigs no longer fly, and how the horse got its name.  They were excellent!  Some students chose to write an acrostic poem using the word CHICKENS.  Not only did they do an excellent job with their writing, but they also cracked me UP with their humor!

In art, they began a two-part guinea project. Although some guineas lack spots, most colors of guineas have little white speckles.  As they worked through these projects they learned about the guineas' origins in Africa, their defensive nature, the incubation of their keets (babies), and their crazy personality!  At the end of the month, the class worked with yard to create fuzzy chicks to take home just in time for Easter!

The classes were able to see many different types of eggs: chicken, duck, turkey, rhea, emu, and ostrich.  They were even able to see snake eggs!  We talked about the differences and similarities between different eggs.

The poultry lesson is one that I often do year after year, but there is always more to learn!  We will be diving deeper, discussing different topics than in years past (“Egg Science”, Egg Grading, duck egg incubation, etc.)  Things are always changing and evolving here on the farm, and they should in class, as well!

We ended our month with a day of EGG SCIENCE!  The classes learned about air pressure as we created a vacuum that sucked a boiled egg right into a bottle.  Then, we increased the air pressure inside the bottle to pop the egg right back out!  The class soaked an egg in due to see the pores in the shall that allow air and fluid to move in and out of the egg, but our time was cut short.... so we will be trying it again when we return from Spring Break.  

Chicken Dice Game


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