By Jonathan Riley – Digby Courier
DIGBY, N.S. – Students across Nova Scotia are tuned in to watch chicks hatching in Digby Elementary’s classroom 122.
“I didn’t expect it to get this big,” she said. “I was just worried my kids would miss something but now, when you walk by the other classrooms, they all have it up on the screen, schools in our board, I hear head office staff were watching, my best friend in Saskatchewan, she’s watching it.”
This is LeBlanc’s first year teaching these grades and she didn’t want to teach this subject with just pictures.
“Life cycles is a pretty abstract concept but this is something concrete, something they can touch, something right in front of them,” she said.
The project started April 5. Ginger Oliver brought in 21 eggs and a homemade incubator made of of a blue picnic cooler. It has a see-through window in the lid and air holes in the side, a thermometer inside, an automatic fan and heat lamp.
At first the eggs needed to be rotated three times a day. LeBlanc took care of the 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. rotations but the students got to do the 1 p.m. turn.
The students were also able to “candle” the eggs – shine a flashlight through them to determine which were fertilized and which weren’t.
The students are learning all the various stages of development inside the egg.
When they learned that the gut forms outside the abdomen and then gets drawn in later, one student told LeBlanc she didn’t want to learn anymore as it was getting gross.
LeBlanc has been “extremely honest” with the children that all the fertilized eggs might not hatch, and of all the chicks that hatch, they all might not survive.
“I’ll probably be crying more than the students,” said LeBlanc. “Tuesday I was a bit emotional, the livestream wouldn’t work and none of the chicks had hatched.”
But as of the morning of April 28, eight had hatched and one was busy pecking or pipping his way out – live on the internet.
“Just type in room 122 livestream and you’ll find it,” says Gage Morrison.
“They peck their way out of the eggs,” says Giovanni Asmah. “They’re still wet. It’s a kinda gross but kinda cool.”
Two of the chicks have names already – Pippin for the first one to pip out (hatch) and Chip for the second one.
“He had a big chip in his egg,” says Reagan Tupper.