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1 — Hatching chickens

Photo of 12 recently hatched chickens in a box with sawdust shavings

Above: Spring has Sprung, photo of recently hatched chickens by Steve Jurvetson CC-BY-2.0

This learning sequence forms part of the Setting the context stage of the Teaching and learning cycle. It introduces life cycles of animals that develop from an egg. The students will be able to observe a chicken hatching as a starting point for further investigation of other creatures that hatch from eggs. They will be led in a discussion of life cycles and their prior understandings of this concept. Concurrently, observation and recording of eggs’ and chicks’ progress will occur as the sequence of lessons unfolds.

Teacher resources


Show the students these YouTube videos of chicks hatching, both in an incubator and in a henhouse:

If you have chosen to have an incubator in the classroom, they can observe the chicks hatching in real time. You may wish to record the chicks hatching on a digital camera. Invite comments and observations from the students as preparation for Activity 1. ACSSU030

Activity 1: Activating prior knowledge

Develop a concept map as you record the students’ responses on the whiteboard. Begin a word wall, with words such as incubate, hatch, egg, down and feathers.

Use some or all of these questions as a starting point:

Activity 2: Recording facts about chickens

The students write three facts about chickens, and one or two things they would like to know. They may use their science journals or the Facts about chickens worksheet to do this. As preparation for writing, the students form pairs and discuss what they know about chickens. Each pair rehearses three facts they know and something they would like to know. Pairs then report back to whole group.

Model one fact (for example, chickens hatch from eggs). Review the structure of the sentence. It tells us what’s happening (the verb – hatch), who or what is involved (the noun or noun group – chickens) and the surrounding circumstances (when, where or how – from eggs). On the board, write ‘chickens hatch from eggs’ and colour the different elements of the sentence so that the students become aware of the patterns of simple sentences. The Processes, expressed by verbs or verb groups, should be green; the Participants, expressed by nouns or noun groups, arhould be red; and the surrounding Circumstances, expressed by such forms as adverbs and prepositional phrases, should be blue.

Next, jointly construct another sentence, again making the structure explicit, before students write their own facts and one or two things they would like to know. Again, model the sentence structure simply by providing a heading: ‘What I would like to know’ and sentence starters such as:

For example, What do chickens eat?


Lead a discussion about where the students might find further information. Encourage them to find information from books in the school library, the local council library, from home, from internet sites, YouTube clips and so on.