K - 2
In this lesson students will learn about the production of eggs beginning on the farm and ending in their home. Students will also identify the culinary uses and nutritional benefits of eggs.
- Hen to Home PowerPoint
- Computer and LCD Projector
- Hen to Home Role Play Signs (Print 1 copy)
- Small box (shoebox size)
- Egg collecting basket
- Wash basin with water (or sink)
- 1 or 2 dozen eggs in a carton
Essential Files (maps, charts, pictures, or documents)
Hen to Home Role Play Signs
The A "MAZE" ing Egg
Hen to Home PowerPoint
coop: an enclosure where poultry live
egg: an oval or round object laid by a female bird
hen: female chicken usually raised to produce eggs
Did you know? (Ag Facts)
- The process from "Hen to Home" takes approximately a week or less.
- When refrigerated, eggs have a shelf life for 3-5 weeks!
- The majority of eggs purchased in a grocery store have white shells and were produced by a White Leghorn, a breed of chicken known for their egg production.
Background - Agricultural Connections
Eggs are produced by hens (female chickens) on farms. Chickens are domestic fowl, as are, turkeys, ducks, and geese. All species of poultry lay eggs, chicken eggs are most commonly consumed in the United States. Eggs are produced by female chickens which are called hens. Hens begin laying eggs when they are 4-6 months old. A good laying hen will produce 6-7 eggs per week for the first 1-2 years of her life.
Eggs come in various shell colors although there is no nutritional difference between different colored eggs. The shell color depends upon the breed of chicken. Eggs can be white, tan, brown, or even a light shade of green. Chickens can be raised on a large or small scale. A few chickens can easily be raised in a backyard to provide eggs for a family. Eggs that are purchased from a store likely came from a farm. Chickens live in houses called, a coop. They eat a special feed that includes grains such as ground up corn and wheat.
Eggs that are produced for the purpose of eating will never develop into a chick because the eggs are not fertilized by a rooster nor are they ever incubated (kept warm). On a farm, eggs are collected each day. The eggs then go through a processing plant where they are washed, checked for abnormalities, and then packaged. The contents of an egg can be seen by holding it up to a light. If an egg has an abnormal shape or appearance, it is discarded and the remaining eggs are packaged into cartons. The eggs leave the processing plant in refrigerated trucks which deliver the eggs to retail grocery stores to be sold to consumers.
Eggs are an important part of our diet. Eggs are an abundant source of protein. Though eggs can be prepared in various ways for breakfast, they are also important and commonly used in other foods. Eggs help bind ingredients together, act as a leavening agent, and help to thicken soups and sauces.
Interest Approach – Engagement
- Ask your students what they had for breakfast. Identify the students who had eggs for breakfast. Ask them how their eggs were prepared. Were they scrambled, fried, or boiled? Were they in an omelette? Do they know that eggs are used to make pancakes and waffles too?
- Ask the students if they know where the eggs came from. Was it the grocery store? Where were they before the grocery store? Today they are going to find out!
Preparation: Before class take the eggs out of the carton and place them in a box that is labeled "nest." This box will represent the nest box where hens lay their eggs on the farm. Keep the cartons handy for step 3 of the lesson.
- Project the Hen to Home PowerPoint in the front of the class.
- Begin with slide 2, titled "Farm." Choose 1 student to be the farmer. Explain to the student and the class that on their farm they raise chickens. Female chickens are called "hens" and hens lay eggs. Now ask the "farmer" to take the egg basket and collect the eggs from the "nest." As he/she is doing so, explain that chickens live in special pens or houses that are called "coops." The farmer makes sure that the hens have food and water. Naturally, hens like to lay their eggs in a nest or box. Explain that feeding, watering, and collecting eggs each day are chores an egg farmer would complete. Once the "farmer" has collected the eggs, ask them to stay in front of the class holding their sign. Using slides 3, 4, and 5 teach the students how many eggs a chicken lays per day, what they eat, and what color eggs are.
- While displaying slide 6, titled "Processing Plant" choose another student to be the processing plant worker. Ask the farmer to give the eggs to the student who is the processor. Explain that after eggs arrive at the processing plant they are cleaned. Have the student wash the eggs in a wash basin with water or at a sink in your classroom and then place the eggs on a towel to dry. After the eggs are washed at the processing plant, they look at the inside of the egg by using a bright light. Ask the students if they know what is inside an egg. Display slide 7 and point out the yolk, white, and shell. Pick up one of the eggs and point out the shell. Then, turn the lights off and use the flashlight to see inside of the egg. This process is called, candling. The students should be able to see the yolk and the white. (White shelled eggs are easiest to see inside.) The last task for the processor to complete is to place the clean, dry eggs in an egg carton. Ask the "processor" to stand to the left of the "farmer" with their sign.
- Teacher Tip: When candling an egg with a regular flashlight, seal your thumb and forefinger in a circle around the end of the flashlight and place the egg on top. This will help direct all of the light through the egg making the inside of the egg more visible.
- While displaying slide 9 titled "Transportation" choose a student to be the truck driver. Ask the student playing the role of the processor to hand the carton of eggs to the truck driver. Explain to the students that the truck driver puts the eggs in the truck and transports the eggs to the grocery store. Eggs are transported in special trucks that are refrigerated to keep the eggs cool and fresh. To simulate the truck driving to the store, walk with the student "truck driver" around the perimeter of the classroom carrying the eggs. Explain that sometimes eggs have to travel many miles to arrive at the grocery store. Once you have reached the front of the classroom again have the "truck driver" stand to the left of the "processor" holding their sign.
- While displaying slide 10 titled "Grocery Store" choose a student to be the grocer. Ask the "truck driver" to deliver the carton of eggs to the grocer. Explain to the class that once the eggs arrive at the grocery store they are placed on a shelf in a refrigerator until someone purchases them. Ask the "grocer" to place the eggs on a "shelf" (nearby table or desk) and then stand to the left of the truck driver with their sign.
- While displaying slide 11 titled, "Home" choose a student to represent a mom or dad at the grocery store. Ask the student to pick up the carton of eggs, pretend to pay for them, and take them home. Use slides 12, 13, and 14 to teach students about the nutrition found in eggs and the different foods that eggs are in. Ask the student representing the consumer to stand to the left of the grocer.
- With all 5 students standing in front of the class, review the steps an egg passes through to get from "Hen to Home."
Concept Elaboration and Evaluation
After conducting these activities, review and summarize the following key concepts:
- A female chicken, called a hen is raised on a farm to produce eggs for us to eat.
- Hens can lay about 1 egg per day once they are full grown.
- Eggs are produced on a farm, cleaned and packaged at a processing plant, transported to a grocery store, then finally sold to a consumer.
We welcome your feedback! Please take a minute to tell us how to make this lesson better or to give us a few gold stars!
- Have students color and complete the "A "MAZE" ing Egg" worksheet.
- If any of your students have their own chickens, invite the student to bring some eggs from home. Compare the size and color(s) of eggs with those that are typically purchased from the grocery store.
- Visit the Interactive Map Project website and view the map representing Egg Production in the United States. Identify the state that produces the most eggs, then find where your state ranks for egg production.
Suggested Companion Resources
Hatching Chicks in Room 6 (Book)
Zinnia and Dot (Book)
Tillie Lays an Egg (Book)
Daisy Comes Home (Book)
Chickens on the Farm (Book)
Chick Life Cycle (Book)
One Egg (Book)
How Food gets from Farms to Store Shelves (Book)
Farm Animals: Chickens (Book)
The Cow in Patrick O'Shanahan's Kitchen (Book)
Chicks & Chickens (Book)
All About Eggs (Multimedia)
Virtual Egg Farm Field Trips (Multimedia)
Eat Happy Project video series (Multimedia)
Hatching Science: 21 Days of Discovery Video (Multimedia)
Eggs 101: A Video Project (Multimedia)
Chicken Embryo Development (Multimedia)
A "MAZE" ing Egg worksheet provided by Utah Agriculture in the Classroom.
National Agriculture in the Classroom