Monday, May 14, 2018


You're going to love this blog post by my friend Barbara Lees. She teaches first grade in Las Vegas and you'll be as intrigued as I was when you hear about her baby chicks.

I know some of you have done similar science activities in your classroom. Each student in my granddaughter's class got a caterpillar that they named, observed, and then set free. Kalina might forget many things about second grade, but she'll never forget her little caterpillar Coconut.

As academics continue to be pushed, it's refreshing to remember that you can still do little "things" that will make a lasting, positive memory in your students.


by Barbara Lees

Materials needed:

Incubator, water for the incubator, box or plastic bin, heat lamp, wood chips, chick feed, water container

Chicks take 21 days to hatch in the incubator. It’s best to get an incubator with a built in turner so you don’t have to manually turn them every day. It’s also good to look for one that has an automatic cool down period, for an hour each day. This is the easy part- just put the fertilized eggs in the incubator, turn it on, add water as needed and wait 21 days!

It’s fun to be able to “candle” the eggs. This is when you have a light source to look through the shell and see the chick growing. You can use a flashlight, but a very dark room is needed, such as a bathroom. After the chicks hatch, they can stay in the incubator for up to 24 hours. They will need to stay in there for a minimum of 2-3 hours to make sure they are dried & fluffy. When they hatch, they are very wet.

Once they’ve hatched and dried, they are ready for their new home. I’ve always used a cardboard box, but a plastic bin would work, too. I put an old towel on the bottom of the box and then a generous amount of wood chips on top of that. They need a heat lamp, as well. Young chicks cannot make their own heat, so this is very important! The lamp needs to stay on the whole time you have the chicks! A food and water dish is important, too. The water container I use is specifically designed for young chicks so they don’t drown. They fall asleep very easily, so if one is used with a wide opening, make sure you put marbles in the water so that doesn’t happen. Put the chicks in the box and enjoy!
I let the kids play with the chicks every day that I have them. They sit in a circle, criss-cross applesauce, knee to knee. Chicks are fast and will escape out of the circle! They must use a one finger touch and pet them on the head and the back. No touching the face, beak, feet or eyes. We use sanitizer before and after. Chicks poop! I use baby wipes and the kids always fight over who gets to clean up the poop!

I let my kids pick them up the 2ndweek. The chicks are a great motivator for the kids. You get your work done and behave and you get “chick time.” It’s very simple!
I usually keep them two weeks. By then the chicks are ready to live on a farm and get out of the box. I got my eggs from a local person who has lots of chickens on her property. It’s very important to find homes for the chicks before you commit to hatching them. Most people are willing to give out eggs, but do not want them back once they’ve hatched.

Here are some activities I did about chicks with the kids. I found them on tpt and pinterest. I found the books on Amazon.

Enjoy! They are a lot of fun. 

For more information you can contact Barbara Lees at