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Mordecai’s kindergartners marvel at chicks’ birth

MADISON – Kindergartner Ruthie Kulavich likes them because they’re so soft.

“I have enjoyed having (the chicks) because they are tiny. It was important for us to have them so that the class would get excited,” Ruthie said.

The project has excited Ruthie and fellow kindergartners at Madison Elementary School. They intently watched incubation that led to chicks hatching in Emily Modecai’s class.

Since she started teaching, Mordecai has wanted to hatch chicks. “Bringing real-life learning opportunities and experiences to students is something that I’m very passionate about. It’s a simple fact that students learn better when they’re engaged,” she said.

Throughout the 21-day process, the class increasingly anticipated for hatching day. “The look on (students’) faces as the chicks began pipping and we began to hear chirping sounds was pure joy,” Mordecai said.

After all chicks hatched, students sang “Happy Birthday.” “The way my students got so excited over a tiny animal’s birth was priceless — a learning experience they’ll never forget,” Mordecai said. .

Science standards for kindergartners require to differentiate non-living/living things and animal habitats. “What better way to teach about animals than to have real-life examples?” Mordecai said. Earlier in April, they hatched butterflies in the classroom. “Any time I tied the chicks or butterflies into reading and math, (I had) their full attention.”

Mordecai ordered a digital circulated-air incubator that accommodates 41 eggs maximum. Farm Innovators makes the model with its automatic egg rotator and viewing coop.

A candler allowed them to monitor the embryo’s progress. She used Learning Resource’s Chick Life Cycle Exploration Set with 21 plastic eggs and illustrations of a chick developing inside the egg.

Two farmers in west Alabama, family friends of Mordecai, were happy to donate fertilized eggs. Nikki Cornelison, 4-H Regional Extension Agent, provided a chicken kit with numerous resources.

Mordecai’s students decided the incubator acted as their mother hen. The incubator consistently heated the eggs at 100 degrees for 21 days. Every four hours, an automatic rotator turned the eggs.

All chicks hatched within 24 hours of each other. Their first chick, Pip, hatched at 12:12 a.m. on May 1. Other chicks are named Speedy, Nugget, Ellie-May, Tripp, Honey, Maybelle and Tacky.

The chicks are ‘chowing down’ now on Dumor chick starter. They’ve eaten almost eaten five pounds of feed since birth.

Around May 13, Mordecai’s class will have “Chick Adoption Day.” The chicks will be split between two farmers in Madison, while some will live with Madison elementary’s music teacher Audra Loftin on her farm.

Kindergartners have bonded with the chicks. “The chicks have down feathers. I enjoy them because they’re adorable. It was important to have them so we could learn about chicks,” Olivia Reas said.

Sophia Davis described the chicks as “nice. I have enjoyed observing them.” Johnathan Valtos said they’re “cute. My favorite part is holding them. It has been fun to learn about them.”

“My favorite part was taking Mother’s Day pictures with the chicks. I have enjoyed having animals that are alive,” Ellison Kia said.

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