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Farming With BHS First Graders

Farming With BHS First Graders

This Spring, Bloomfield Hills Schools first grade students hatched baby chicks in their classrooms as part of their integrated science and social studies units. Students learned bird and chick basics, as well as deeper concepts like how temperature and humidity play an important role in successful hatching. The students tracked this data and checked on chick development, using flashlights to peer through the eggshells, for the full 21-day incubation period. After hatching, the classes created a brooder box with everything their chicks need to survive their first days: food, water, a heater, and safety. 

As part of their Spring field trip, the students delivered the chicks to Bowers Farm. Students then compared and contrasted the chicks to the grown chickens and also to the other farm babies, including calves, goat kids, and lambs. 

During this field trip, the students had the opportunity to explore the Farm Store for items that they “need” versus items they may “want.” This scavenger hunt laid the foundation for concepts like producers/consumers and reiterated basic needs of living things. Some shoppers shared that they needed store items like meat, eggs, vegetables, and water, while the want lists included items such as stuffed animals, ice cream, t-shirts, s’mores kits, toys, and books.

Using recycled materials, including pinecones, clothespins, pipe cleaners, paper, foam pieces, and packing peanuts, the students created their own bird in the Design Studio at Bowers Farm. Gavin Grindem from Mrs. Dugloss’ class at Way Elementary crafted a silkie chick. “I used mostly black foam stickers because there were no gray stickers,” he explained. “Silkies are usually grey. I learned about them because I got to hold one when I won the auction,” referring to Dugloss’ own chickens and the petting time she auctioned off at Way’s Parent’s Night Out.

Since many bird species make their home around the farm, the students took a wagon ride and completed a bird search around the farm property. Students counted and tallied all the wild birds, migratory species, and waterfowl they saw. Then, using sticks, rocks, and dried plant material, and pretending to be “parent birds” the students created nests to protect their eggs. One group of students built nests near each other, and one witty student proclaimed, “They’re neigh-birds!”

When you stop by Bowers Farm this summer, be sure to check out the new chicks, and thank a first grader for their hard work.