Which came first, the egg or the chicken? The world may never know for sure. There are, however, several young students who could tell you about their adventure hatching chicks. Duval County’s 4-H Embryology Project began in February of this year. Since then, the program has reached 1,364 students in 29 different schools. The teachers registered and picked a date to initiate their 21-day session. When the time arrived, every teacher received equipment, a resource binder, fertilized eggs, and a helpful briefing to explain things and answer questions.
Frequently, instructors would opt for the in-person introduction lesson. Here the students would learn about their special project, the parts of an egg, how the incubator functioned as the mama hen, and more. I loved the question, “where do you think eggs come from?” The answers always varied. Sometimes, older students would reply, “from a chicken, of course!”, but many, whom were younger, would insist they came straight from the grocery store. I enjoyed exposing where we get eggs and how they become chickens. Admittedly, this was a great segue into explaining how they would be scientists throughout the process. It was a fantastic way to kickstart the 21-day embryology sessions.
Ultimately, this year’s 4-H Embryology Project was a success. In fact, many teachers enthusiastically shared that their students wrote stories about their baby chicks, learned to care for living creatures, and adored watching their chicks hatch. One first-year teacher even declared many of her second graders, “who never seem to care much about any subject in school, were excited about this program!” It was amazing to see how hatching chicks with the 4-H Embryology Project egged-on the kind of learning students enjoyed.
A link to Florida 4-H Virtual Embryology Program: https://sites.google.com/ufl.edu/florida4-hembryology/home