Life Cycles: from egg to chick



Anyone who knows me well enough knows how much I LOVE teaching science in my classroom! We have been discussing life cycles in our classroom {frogs, butterflies, bees, sharks, and chicks}.When I got the go ahead from my principal last fall, I could hardly wait for spring to come. I think this is my favorite activity this year.

Thankfully I have a very accommodating principal who encourages me to include science through my teaching! Originally, I was going to hatch chicks in my classroom. During a recent building move, a former principal of mine discovered extra incubators. We were able to have an incubator for each grade level {Kindergarten, First, Second}.

On my farm, we have 22 laying hens so I gathered eggs {with the help of my wonderful husband!} for 2 days and brought in eggs for all 3 grade levels. Since my classroom had eggs laid on 2 different days, we marked them with stars and flowers to keep them straight.

On the first day we watched a YouTube video on what was developing inside the egg each day. {Click HERE to WATCH} This 3-D video was an amazing way to show the students what is happening inside the egg each day.

We tracked the progress each day on chart paper.

Day 1- tissue develops

Day 2- heart forms and begins to beat

Day 3- blood vessels develop

Day 4- limb develops (wings, legs) brain and eye develop

Day 5- elbow and knee develop

Day 6- digits form (beak)

Day 7- beak continues to develop, egg tooth and comb develop

Day 8- feathers develop and feather tracts

Day 9- mouth opening

Day 10- claws begin to develop

Day 11- tail feathers begin to develop

Day 12- scales begin to appear on legs (shank) and feet

Day 13- eyelids are now visible

Day 14- head turns to the large end of the egg for the air pocket

Day 15- gut draws into the abdomen

Day 16- feathers begin to cover the body of the chick

Day 17- head begins to tuck between the legs

Day 18- (IMPORTANT DAY: We stop turning the eggs!) embryo fills space, yolk sac is absorbed

Day 19- yolk sac draws into the abdomen

Day 20- internal and external pip

Day 21- hatching begins

We purchase the majority of our supplies from Tractor Supply but of course they can be found elsewhere. These are the supplies we used in my room to hatch chicks:

**We had success using a desk lamp with a 60 watt bulb and covering a fish tank with aluminum foil in lieu of a heat lamp.**

We read many different books on the life cycle. Many have beautiful photographs of the stages for the students to see. We read this book in class. {Affiliate link Click HERE}

The students completed a writing project on what happens during the stages of the chick life cycle. They wrote a generalization about the beginning, middle, and end. I left the choice of facts up to each individual student. We added the chick popping out of the shell as a creative touch and they are proudly on display in the hallway.

The students also learned about the parts of the egg while it is developing. I created a diagram that was hanging to use as an anchor chart during the process. I also created a diagram of the adult hen as another anchor chart.


We had SO MUCH FUN during this entire process. I think this will be one of those activities the students will remember for years to come. Many students will never be able to have such a hands-on approach to a life cycle from start to finish. There are so many different projects and activities that can be used with this project and best of all it meets CCS for life cycles in 2nd grade! WIN WIN!! We are still waiting for a few more to hatch but so far in 3 grade levels we have 11 chicks!!

What life cycles do you talk about in your classroom? I'd love to hear!!


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