Remember the old joke, “Which came first: the chicken or the egg?”
Ask Fairview/Miss Jewell Elementary School students in special education teacher Mira Lopez’s class who spent the week before Easter learning all about eggs and about the life cycle of chickens and they will tell you the answer.
Lopez came up with several fun ways for her students to learn about the science of animals and how some animals undergo a series of orderly changes in their life cycles.
“The students need repetition to remember,” Lopez said. “We present the material in different ways so students with different learning styles will understand. I taught the lessons about the life cycle with the different modalities or senses to include visual, auditory, touch, smell and taste. The more senses my students use, the more they remember.”
Crystal Curras, a substitute classroom aide, started the lesson by introducing the lesson with colorful Peeps, marshmallow candies in the shapes of chicks, in plastic eggs.
Devionne Holt, a second-grader, understood the lesson immediately.
“If a chicken sits on an egg, it hatches a chick. I ate the chick (Peep) after it came out of the egg,” Holt said excitedly. “So much fun.”
This lesson engaged the sense of touch and taste. Afterward, the students made construction paper hangers with all the different stages of the life cycle. This was a visual reminder for the students as they continued their lessons the rest of the week.
The following day, the students read a book together about life cycles and got to examine the contents of fresh chicken eggs with Lauren Sutton, a student teacher in Lopez’s class.
“We read the book about the life cycles of the chicken and then we had the students learn the names of the different parts of the egg. We let each student examine a chicken’s egg before and after cracking it,” Sutton said. “The students were excited to touch all the parts. We had to make sure they wore gloves.”
Jessie Thompson, a fifth-grader, had a strong grasp of the information presented.
“The real eggs were fun. We opened them and touched the yolk. All the parts felt different. The shell was hard, and the yolk was soft,” Thompson said. “The yolk becomes a chick. The albumen feeds the chick.”
Lopez explained that the lesson required different amounts of modification for different students.
“The observations of the parts of the eggs were not modified, but when I give my oral assessment, choices are provided for some of the students,” Lopez said. “Many students used words from the experiment during the assessment such as albumen, hatch and yolk. I will reteach the lesson in a different way until everyone understands.”