4-H Embryology Update

— Written By

May 22nd, 2014

Embryology is defined as the science dealing with the formation, growth, development, structure, and functional activities of embryos, i.e. the embryology of the chick. Since February Mecklenburg County 4-H has been providing incubation materials for the annual Embryology Project using the 4-H Hatching Curriculum. Local farmer, Randy Klocke with Rooster Hill Farms provides the eggs for this amazing project. To date, sixteen CMS schools have participated in three different rounds, hatching both chicken and quail eggs. We are in our fourth and final round with the last two schools and Tom Sykes Recreation Center currently in the middle of the incubation period of their hatching projects! Their anticipated hatches have been set to occur just after Memorial Day.

Through the 4-H Hatching Curriculum, young people are given the opportunity to turn the eggs in the incubator, take part in record-keeping activities to monitor number of daily turns, and experience the observation component of a developing chick by candling eggs throughout the development process. While waiting during the 16-23 day incubation period depending on whether they are hatching quail or chicken eggs, they get to collectively construct a brooder box for the chicks to be placed in after hatch. Meanwhile while continuing to wait the youth learn countless facts, information, and enjoy activities pertaining to chick care, differences in eggs, and life cycles/body systems all through the means of experiential learning.

This particular 4-H enrichment project remains the most popular offering and a favorite of many who work with youth. Evaluation over time has found invaluable benefits that are reaped when youth are exposed to life cycles in such a hands-on manner. Through this curriculum the life skills attained and STEM (science-technology-engineering-mathematics) that are utilized are both eye opening and life changing! Once the chicks begin hatching the youth are both fascinated and proud. They are proud that the eggs they were charged with the responsibility of taking care of have hatched and are living, breathing, tangible evidence of the life cycles they once had just “heard about”. This only further reinstates the child like wonder in our youth to pursue the science behind all forms of life they encounter.

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