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The miracle of life has been the object of scientific
studies for decades. Science has evaluated and learned
much about this process. In order to promote and
maintain interest in this process, teachers have often
demonstrated this occurance by hatching chickens in
school. While this process does a wonderful job of
highlighting the developmental stages of life, little
concern is given to what happens to the chicks after
the experiment has run its course.
Since this is an experiment and the chicks are not
receiving the care of a mother hen, many deformities
and birth defects are common. For instance, when the
eggs are not rotated the bird's organs can develop
externally and may also not develop fully. Other
scenarios can include death shortly after birth from
malnutrition or lack of sufficient light. Teachers
need to consider these factors before beginning such
an experiment.
If teachers do decide to initiate such an experiment
they need to realize that these chicks will have no
home after the experiment has ended. Poultry farms
will not take them and flushing them down the toilet
is not a viable option. Remember that these are living
breathing entities and not simply a hands on
experiment!
Other options available to teachers to demonstrate
the miracle of life include instructional videos and
bringing a live hen into the classroom. The second
option provides the chicks with a mother and helps to
ensure that they are proper cared for during the
experiment and after.