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Learning about Life: Lewis County Students participate in MU Extension’s Hatching Chicks in the Classroom Program

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Over three hundred students from a total of twenty one classrooms between Highland Elementary and Canton Elementary are rounding out their school year by participating in the “Chick it Out!” Embryology Program offered through Missouri 4-H and University of Missouri Extension. Students have the opportunity to experience the birth and death process, as well as being able to relate chick embryo development to the development of other living creatures. Classrooms are equipped with fertilized, pre-incubated eggs and an incubator for about one week before the eggs hatch.  Through classroom presentations provided by Youth Program Associate Kaley Bozarth, students learn about how the egg is fertilized and laid, the parts of the egg and what each provides for the growing chick and the 21-day development of the chick. The opportunity to candle the developing eggs provides youth with first-hand observations of the development going on within the eggs in their incubator.

Kaley Bozarth
MU Extension Lewis County
Nutrition and Youth Program Associate

“It’s so fun to see this experience through their eyes.  When we’re candling, and they see the embryo flutter in the shell, its just so fun to see their excitement” says Bozarth.  “Their hugs and smiles and thank you’s when you leave the classroom are worth every ounce of energy we put into this.”

“Even when hatching does not go as planned, there is still the opportunity to learn from the experience,” shares Bozarth. “There are many factors that can affect the hatching rate including the incubator, germs, and nature. When healthy chicks are not the outcome of hatching, it provides the opportunity to discuss death and disabilities which are also a part of life.” Teachers in participating classrooms report students were protective and nurturing over the chicks once they hatched.  85 percent of teachers rate the 4-H Embryology program as above average or outstanding. Embryology: Hatching Chicks in the Classroom is just one of the many programs that allow youth in Lewis County to engage in positive youth development experiences. 

4-H is a youth development program offered through University of Missouri Extension for youth ages 5-18. For more information contact the University of Missouri Extension Office of Lewis County at 573-767-5273 or find more information at www.extension.missouri.edu/programs/missouri-4-h. University of Missouri Extension provides equal opportunity to all participants in extension programs and activities, and for all employees and applicants for employment on the basis of their demonstrated ability and competence without discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, ancestry, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, genetic information, disability, or protected veteran status. 

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