Memorial Park teacher, Michele Bissonnette, gave her third graders a first hand opportunity this spring to learn about egg-laying animals by hatching four ducklings.
She explained, “We were reading and exploring informational texts on animals and life cycles when we hatched our ducklings. My third graders gathered information on how long different eggs took to hatch and learned about other oviparous…egg laying… animals. We watched carefully to make sure that the magic hatching temperature was always about 99 degrees and that there was water added to the incubator well to keep the humidity at the best level. We had an automated incubator that would turn the eggs every few hours just like the mother duck would do.”
Bissonnette also explained that it takes about 28 days for a duckling to hatch and that they were lucky enough to watch one hatch via their Smartboard document camera. She said, “The class was over the moon when the duckling unfolded and was so ugly it was cute. (They didn’t like that the poor thing was wet and ugly at first! )” The children were fascinated, she said, by all the peeping and the way it seemed to have sea legs the first few hours after hatching.
Two of the ducklings were placed with a student and the other two are currently roaming Bissonette’s backyard.
The children also learned that the gender of the ducklings is not immediately apparent. Bissonette explained that you have to wait several weeks to discover if your duckling is male or female. “Females will make a loud piercing quack and are generally dull in color. Males make a low “wub-wub” sound and are generally more colorful and have a single curled tail feather.” The first duckling they found was a female and they named it “Brianna.” The second they called “Mo.”
The photos were taken by Rachael Bissonnette and Michele Bissonnette