Last week almost 600, second-grade students throughout Richmond County public schools and Second Baptist Christian Academy participated in the 4-H School Enrichment Curriculum, “Hatching in the Classroom.” This National 4-H curriculum is a great embryology project sponsored locally by Richmond County 4-H, Richmond County Farm Bureau and the Richmond County United Way. Thanks to these sponsors, Richmond County Schools are able to offer this wonderful hands-on experience to their students for free!
Teachers who participate in the program are given an incubator, a dozen fertile eggs and resources to assist them in teaching about the life cycle through poultry embryology. Over the course of 21 days, students rotate the eggs, candle the eggs to identify development stages and also build brooding boxes for when the chicks hatch. During the incubation time, teachers are focusing their lessons on the life cycle and students are learning through hands-on activities. At the conclusion of the program, I have a chance to speak with classes about 4-H and ways they can join. In addition, Richmond County Livestock Agent Tiffanee Conrad speaks to the participants about livestock, agriculture and the broiler chickens they have hatched. This allows the students to ask questions and learn more about the contributions of a chicken.
4-H school enrichment curriculum follows the “experiential learning” model. This type of learning encourages the “learn by doing” or experiential process. This means students have hands-on activities, reflect on the meaning and apply what they learned. Richmond County teachers were wonderful in working with their students and have come up with some wonderful, creative activities to engage their students.
At the conclusion of the program, youth are presented with certificates and information about joining the local 4-H clubs and, of course, attending summer camp! This year, Richmond County 4-H members have the opportunity to take these broiler chicks home to raise them and compete in the Richmond County Youth Poultry Show on May 18 hosted at the Richmond County Extension Office. 2017 was the first year that 4-H was able to offer the youth poultry project and after much success, this year, the group has expanded into laying hens. Youth will raise the birds, complete a project recordbook, attend showmanship clinics and learn what it takes to raise the birds that feed the world.
If you would like more information about the embryology project, the Youth Poultry Show or joining 4-H, contact me at 997-8255 or by email at [email protected] Richmond County 4-H has five clubs that youth may join and a lot of great summer activities planned. Come join our Clover Family and help us continue to “Make the Best Better!”
Alyson Hoffman is the 4-H youth development agent with the Richmond County Cooperative Extension office.