In May of 2023, students from all grades gathered around the window outside the science lab to see JCDS' newest resident - an unbelievably cute baby chick named Athena!
As part of the second grade studies of life cycles, Science Specialist Deb Landon had several eggs in her incubator, but only one successfully hatched.
She put Athena on display for everyone to take an adoring look. (Athena was named before it hatched. We were not sure if Athena is a rooster or a hen.)
To learn about the early life cycle of chickens, the second graders dissected an unfertilized egg from the supermarket. Ms Landon covered the lab floor with a tarp, because this lab exercise could potentially be quite messy!
Some students found that cracking an egg is trickier than it looks. Too little force and the shell remains impenetrable. Too much force and you may get an explosion of raw egg on your hands!
"We did it a little too rough," said 2nd-grader Saurav M. "The yolk was all spread out and the egg white and yolk was mixed together."
Alexa R. and her lab partner had better luck.
"Me and Emily cracked it like how you would cook it," said 2nd-grader Alexa. "It came out intact."
Overall, the students were impressed with the sturdiness of an egg shell.
"Eggs are actually pretty strong, because if you squeeze the egg it won't crack, said Saurav.
Alexa added, "The way they package it could be kinda rough for an egg."
Ms. Landon had the students observe and identify the different parts of the egg, including some things you wouldn't think about. For example, the chilazae are cords that are attached to the yolk and anchored to the egg shell. They keep the yolk centered inside the egg.
Ms. Landon saved the best part of the lesson for last. After the students completed their work, she gave the them the opportunity to pet the chick.
"It was so fluffy!" said Alexa. "I also holded it. When its little feet were on me it felt really pointy."
Sharky loves that the students get to use various sensory inputs to learn about the world.
As for Athena, after her work was done at JCDS, she was scheduled to be placed at a farm where she (or he) will grow up to become a productive chicken itself.