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Utah Agriculture in the Classroom

Teacher Award

State & National Teacher Award 2015

Théo Anderson

Providence Elementary School
5th Grade, all subjects
Theo Anderson

“Our current projects began with a former student building us a chicken coop as part of his Eagle Scout project.  Once we had a place to raise our chickens, I ordered 24 eggs from Thanksgiving Point Farm Education Center.We proceeded to use the lessons available through Ag in the Classroom to prepare for our adventure.”

“The 'Eggology' lesson provided my students with the basic concepts and vocabulary needed to understand the needs of the embryo while developing into a heathy chick. This information was crucial for the set-up and maintenance of the incubator.”

“Following the successful incubator set-up, we dove into the 'Hatching Science' activities. It began with learning about what happens during the 21-day hatching cycle. We opened numbered plastic eggs which contained pictures and explanations for each day of the cycle. Research and discussion was also held about various breeds, their traits, and whether they were valued as layers, meat chickens, or neither.”

“On the day our chicks arrived, we began to record our observations and illustrations. We placed the eggs in the incubator, while keeping a close watch on the temperature and humidity. Much to the students' excitement, the eggs began hatching 2 days later. As the chicks perked up and dried off a bit, the students transferred them to their temporary home in the brooder box. Food and water was given to the chicks right away. The children were surprised to see the chicks eat and drink without any help.”

“The chicks remained in our room until they were ready to move into the chicken coop. Summer was upon us and the students wanted to know how they could continue to help care for them. That is when the Chicken Power Club was created. Students who wanted to join received a t-shirt and key to the coop. We had several training sessions, and made a schedule. It became their responsibility to feed, water, and clean the coop on their assigned day.”

“When school started, the hens were beginning to lay eggs. The members of the club decided to take donations from people who wanted eggs and donate them to charity. 'Hens 4 Hunger' was born. It was decided that the money would be given to the local food bank.”

“A few years ago, I received several grants and decided to build an outdoor classroom area at our school. The chicken coop and compost area are located there. My current class has been learning about composting. They collect left over fruits and vegetables during lunch. Some of it is given to the chickens, while the rest is put into our compost bins. The chicken waste is also composted.  It is amazing how it all ties together.”

“What began as a simple lesson on the life cycle of animals, became an ever changing and expanding project for my students. We will hatch a new set of chicks this spring and plant a garden in the outdoor classroom. Research will be done on what types of food that we can grow to supplement our chickens' diet.”

“As the students ready the soil, they will add the compost from our bins. Learning in an authentic way with real-world concepts never ends. We will continue to extend and expand our experience that all began with an 'egg'.”