2 — Life cycle of a chicken
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).
- a large copy of the Stages of a chicken’s life and multiple copies of the Stages of a chicken’s life, with the pictures and labels cut out so students can match them back up again
- Lifetimes by Bryan Mellonie and Robert Ingpen or a similar text dealing with life, death and the lifetime between
- research materials for students to learn about different egg-laying animals. Include different types of resources such as books, posters and multimedia materials.
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:
- Where do chicken eggs usually incubate?
- How did the chick know it was time to hatch?
- How did it break the shell?
- Why did it look wet?
- Did it have feathers when it first hatched?
- How did it move?
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:
- Why are there arrows between the stages?
- Where does the egg come from?
- What eventually happens to the adult chicken?
- What is a female chicken called and what is a male chicken called?
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. ACELA1463, ACELY1671
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:
- How many days in three weeks? (Relate this time to events in the students’ lives.)
- What happens over three weeks at school or in your family? (Students could be asked to keep a log or diary for three weeks.)
- How long is three months? How many weeks? How many days? What about 12 months?
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.