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2 — Life cycle of a chicken

A visual pun on the word life'cycle' showing a chicken riding a bike

Above: ‘Cycle’ of a chicken, illustration by Jan Gillbank

This learning sequence encourages students to recognise that living things have predictable characteristics at different stages of development, and begins to explore some of those characteristics. Students will also begin to consider which other animals reproduce by laying eggs.

Jointly construct a linear timeline representation of life before the concept of the life cycle is introduced. Students can sometimes become confused with the ongoing nature of the life cycle if they are not clear about a single animal’s life span (that is, an animal is born, reproduces and eventually dies).



Teacher resources


Review the previous sequence, where students observed a chick hatching from an egg (either in a video or in real time). You may wish to view this again. Ask the students to describe what happened, encouraging detailed descriptions of each stage of the event with questions such as:

Activity 1: Ordering the stages of a chicken’s life

Display the large copy of the Stages of a chicken’s life or have it on the interactive whiteboard. Ask the students:

Activity 2: Constructing a diagram of the life cycle of the chicken

Jointly construct another diagram using the set of pictures of the Stages of a chicken’s life. This time, the pictures are to be pasted in a cycle formation, again with arrows and labels. Discuss the cyclic nature of the continuation of life of a species in contrast to the life of a single animal. Students paste the same set of pictures into their science journals and add arrows. ACELA1463ACELY1671

The students can now examine how the life cycle can be expanded to show more explicitly the stages a chick goes through from egg to maturity. If you wish, you can show them the completed diagram of the detailed life cycle of a chicken on the interactive whiteboard, and they can then independently, or in collaboration with a partner, work on the Detailed life cycle of a chicken worksheet. Depending on student needs, the text can be blanked out and provided as labels that can be pasted beside each of the five images. More able students can be given the diagram with the label spaces blanked out and asked to write the correct information on the diagram.

Activity 3: Thinking about time frames

Explore the time frames referred to in the life cycle. Ask the students the following questions:


What other animals lay eggs? Begin a list of animals that lay eggs, which will be developed over the next few days. Do these animals have similar life cycles? Let the students know that the class will be investigating this. Start a class glossary of technical words encountered in this unit of work. Students can record their understandings on a class chart with headings: Animals that lay eggs, Animals that don’t lay eggs and Not sure.