JACKSON TWP.  Sauder Elementary School kindergarten teacher Heidi Preising recently took a science class at Walsh University. One of the units she participated in was about oviparous (egg laying) animals. She just knew she had to teach a similar class to her students.

On May 1, she and the kindergarten students at Sauder celebrated their efforts with a peep party. The party included the 12 chicks they hatched during the 21 days of incubation, yellow cupcakes decorated like chicks and chick related crafts and photos with the chicks.

To make the project work for the kindergartners, Preising needed some supplies including eggs, incubators to hatch the eggs and a brooder box to keep the chicks warm after they hatched.

“First, I applied for a $1,000 grant from the Jackson Local Schools Foundation to purchase the incubators and I received the grant,” Preising said. “The Orrville Hatchery donated the eggs. My mother picked them up and they were wrapped in cellophane. She brought them straight to my classroom. My husband built a brooder box for us to keep the chicks in while they grew.”

There were five eggs in each incubator. Preising said that it takes 21 days for the chicks to hatch. Chickens turn their eggs every two to three hours. She said the incubators actually would turn the eggs using a timer. The incubators were also kept at a 99.5-degree temperature and the students had to add water for humidity.

“We were expecting all of the eggs to hatch on day 21 but we only had one chick hatch. It took a couple of more days before the rest of them hatched. They all hatched April 30 and May 1,” Preising said.

The class will be donating the chicks to a family friend of Preising who own two chicken coops. She said the class did a lot of reading and writing and sequencing activities leading up the project.

“We consider the project a success and will plan to do this with a new class of students next year. I love animals and want to teach carrying for creatures of the world to my kids. It was wonderful to have the Jackson Local Schools Foundation fund the project,” Preising said.