New Babies in the Science Lab
What came first? The chicken or the egg? Our Year 10 Biology students might be able to shed some light on that age-old question.
The girls have been tracking the developmental changes that happen in chickens. This exercise provides an up-close opportunity with developing chickens. Students collect real data about growth and development and learn first-hand about the importance of following the recommended guidelines around animal ethics when using animals for any form of study.
The class was provided with ten fertilized chicken eggs, which were incubated on site. An enclosure for the hatched chickens was provided. Students were required to care for the chickens.
The girls needed to ensure the egg incubator was always closed and set at the appropriate temperature and humidity level. Once hatched, the girls ensured the chicks had sufficient food and water in their enclosure, and that the heat lamp was providing enough heat to them. Time was set aside during each class for the girls to measure the data. They were also required to use the correct techniques when holding and measuring the chicks.
Some of the students’ observations included:
- Changes to the eggs, including colour, shape, size, noises, movements, etc.
- A sequence of events resulting in a hatched chicken.
- Physical, behavioural and developmental characteristics of chicken development at different developmental stages, eg 1-day, 2-days, 3-days and 5-days-old.
- Measurable physical characteristics of chickens, including mass, height, and feather maturation.
The Year 10 chicken measurement task in Biology is a perfect example of a hands-on activity that applies directly to our learning. As a class, we get some time every lesson to measure our designated chicken and make a connection with them. Then we go back into class and apply this time with the chickens to our scientific method skills. This task makes me look forward to coming to Biology so that we can see our chickens grow every day, and it feels good to know that we are ticking off objectives at the same time.
The Year 10 chicken project is an excellent way for us to experience our in-class learning in real life. It is an interesting task that helps us deepen our knowledge and connect it to living animals outside the classroom. This fun activity consists of watching our chicks grow from hatching and observing and recording them to use in our experiment ‘Does Gender Affect Growth Rate?’ It also teaches us about the treatment of animals within an experiment and how to do it ethically. This project is really fun and makes our class work more memorable as it puts a practical spin on it.