National Agricultural Literacy Curriculum Matrix
Eggology (Grades 3-5)
3 - 5
Students will identify how the basic needs of a growing chick are met during egg incubation. Activities include identifying and diagramming the parts of an egg and hatching eggs in class.
Interest Approach or Motivator:
- Facts About Chickens PowerPoint
- Parts of an Egg PowerPoint
- Unfertilized (grocery store) eggs, 1 per group
- Shallow containers, 1 per group
- Toothpicks, 1 per student
- Parts of an Egg Diagram, 1 per group
- Parts of an Egg Activity Sheet, 1 per student
- Parts of an Egg Book, 3 pages for each student
- Dyed, hard-boiled eggs, 1 per group (1 cup hot water, 20 drops food coloring; allow eggs to sit in dye overnight)
- Hand lenses, 1 per group
- Raw eggs, 1 per group
- Containers of warm water, 1 per group
- Incubator with fertilized eggs
- A tool for measuring air temperature
- A tool for measuring relative humidity
- Use the Make a Wet-Bulb Thermometer Instructions to make your own
- Incubation Log
Essential Files (maps, charts, pictures, or documents)
- Facts About Chickens PowerPoint
- Parts of an Egg PowerPoint
- Make a Wet-Bulb Thermometer Instructions
- Parts of an Egg Diagram
- Parts of an Egg Book
- Parts of an Egg Activity Sheet
- Incubation Log Activity Sheet
brooding: to sit on eggs in order to hatch them
chick: a young chicken
clutch: a brood, or the group of eggs incubated together
embryo: an animal in the early stages of development
hen: female chicken
humidity: the amount of moisture in the air
incubation: the act of keeping an organism in conditions favorable for growth and development
rooster: an adult male chicken
Did you know? (Ag Facts)
- Hens lay one egg approximately every 28 hours.
- A rooster is not needed for a hen to produce eggs for eating. Roosters are only needed to produce fertile eggs for hatching.
- Chickens can lay eggs in varying colors including white, dark brown, light brown, and even shades of green. There is no nutritional difference among eggs of different shell colors.
- You can tell what color of egg a hen will lay by looking at the color of her skin on her earlobe.
Background Agricultural Connections
Interest Approach – Engagement
- Use the Facts About Chickens PowerPoint to teach your students some basic facts about chickens and eggs to begin developing their interest and curiosity. Pictures can be projected from a computer or printed.
Activity 1: Egg Anatomy
- Ask students to list what animals need to survive. Discuss the fact that animals need food, water, shelter, and air.
- Ask students if they think chicks have the same basic needs developing inside the egg compared to after they hatch. Tell students that chicken embryos need food, water, air, and the proper temperature and humidity to develop into a healthy chick that is ready to hatch out of the egg. Explain that it is important to know the parts of an egg and their functions in order to understand how a chicken embryo’s basic needs are met inside the egg.
- Use the Parts of an Egg PowerPoint to explain the function of each part of the egg.
- Divide students into groups. Carefully break open one unfertilized (grocery store) egg per group into a shallow container.
- Using the Parts of an Egg Diagram and toothpicks, have students locate each part of the egg. You may need to use spoons to gently flip the yolk if the germinal disc is not visible.
- Ask students to fill out the Parts of an Egg activity sheet by cutting and pasting each egg part where it belongs.
- Have the students create a Parts of an Egg Book by cutting out each egg.
- Cut every egg, except the back cover, apart on the crack line.
- Match each egg part with its corresponding function. Use two brads to connect the pages to the back cover.
Activity 2: Air Transfer
- Provide each group with a hand lens and a hard-boiled egg that has been sitting in dye (1 cup hot water, 20 drops food coloring) overnight. Ask students to look carefully at the shell of the egg. Discuss their observations. Point out the tiny pores on the eggshell. There are more than 7,000 pores on an eggshell that allow oxygen to pass into the egg and carbon dioxide to pass out.
- Have the students compare the pores at the large end of the egg with the pores on the rest of the egg. Discuss their comparisons. The pores at the large end, where the air cell is located, are larger and more numerous than pores on other parts of the egg. This allows oxygen to enter the air cell easily. Just before hatching, the chick will puncture the air cell and use the oxygen stored there to breathe until it pecks through the shell.
- Ask the students what they think they will see when the eggshells are peeled off the eggs. Have students peel the eggs. Ask the students to explain why there are small dots of color on the inside of the shell and the white of the egg. Explain that, like the food coloring, oxygen enters the egg through the shell’s tiny pores. Point out that the dots of food coloring are larger and more numerous where the air cell is located.
- Place a raw egg in warm water. You will see tiny air bubbles rise to the surface of the water. Air is escaping through the pores in the shell. Explain that carbon dioxide escapes the egg through the pores.
Activity 3: Charting Temperature and Humidity- Hatching Eggs in Class!
- Obtain fertile eggs and an incubator to hatch incubate and hatch eggs in your classroom.
- Explain to the students that maintaining the proper temperature and humidity of the incubator and turning the egg at least three times a day for the first 18 days is important to chick survival. If the temperature or humidity is too high or too low or the egg is not turned, the chick could be in danger.
- Some incubators include automatic temperature and humidity controls, as well as automatic turners. Other incubators require temperature and humidity to be measured manually and eggs to be turned by hand. Train students on how to determine the incubator’s temperature and humidity. If a humidity reading is not available with your incubator, see the Make a Wet-Bulb Thermometer Instructions.
- To help prevent problems during incubation, students will measure the temperature, relative humidity, and egg turning and record the data on their Incubation Log.
Concept Elaboration and Evaluation
After conducting these activities, review and summarize the following key concepts:
- Baby chickens are called chicks. They develop inside an egg.
- Baby chicks need food, water, air, and the proper temperature and humidity to develop properly inside the egg.
- Air passes in and out of an egg shell through tiny pores.
Use the hands-on activities in the lesson plan From Chicken Little to Chicken Big to explore the production of chicken and eggs for food and teach students about the life cycle and genetics of chickens.
Suggested Companion Resources
- The Life Cycle of a Chicken (Activity)
- Chick Life Cycle (Book)
- Chickens on the Farm (Book)
- Chicks & Chickens (Book)
- Daisy Comes Home (Book)
- From Egg to Chicken (Book)
- Inside An Egg (Book)
- One Egg (Book)
- One Hen: How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference (Book)
- Tillie Lays an Egg (Book)
- Zinnia and Dot (Book)
- Countdown to Hatch (Kit)
- Chick Embryology YouTube Playlist (Multimedia)
- Eggs 101: A Video Project (Multimedia)
- Hatching Science: 21 Days of Discovery (Multimedia)
- Virtual Chicken (Multimedia)
- Virtual Egg Farm Field Trips (Multimedia)
- Poultry Reader (Booklets & Readers)
- Hatching Science Center (Website)
Agricultural Literacy Outcomes
Plants and Animals for Food, Fiber & Energy
- Provide examples of specific ways farmers meet the needs of animals (T2.3-5.d)
Education Content Standards
3-LS4: Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity
3-LS4-3Construct an argument with evidence that in a particular habitat some organisms can survive well, some survive less well, and some cannot survive at all.
Common Core Connections
Speaking and Listening: Anchor Standards
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.5Make strategic use of digital media and visual displays of data to express information and enhance understanding of presentations.