Kindergarten Class Helps Emu Chicks "Fly the Coop"
With help from a couple of farmers, innovative teacher Joni Rhodes introduced her South Scotland Elementary School class to the miracle of life.
“I got interested in hatching emus while I was searching the Internet for ideas for my class,” said Rhodes “I saw on the net a science project that a class had done with emus, it gave me the idea to hatch some in my room.” Mrs. Rhodes went on to say that her father had raised emus for roughly six years and she was able to borrow a small incubator. Another emu farmer provided 17 eggs, 8 of which hatched.
In the pictures above, we see one of the chicks has broken through the shell and that the struggle for life has begun. At a couple of days, the chicks are very active and show an interest in pecking at the above student's fingers. Click for a larger view.
During the course of the 52 days it took to hatch the eggs, the children learned many facts about emus, including that the male hatches the eggs. “We colored emu coloring sheets, had an emu egg hidden picture worksheet and a fact sheet which another teacher picked up from the North Carolina State Fair.” During reading time students enjoyed the Edwina and Earl the Emu books. We wrote stories about the emus and learned how to draw an emu using the oval. I also taped pieces of an emu shell to their story.” Joni confines that she was a little bit nervous on the first day of hatching, but that her father, a veteran of over 600 hatches, came by to assist and reassure. Three days later her parents brought emu sausage balls and meatballs for the students and teachers to enjoy.
The learning experience was not limited to the kindergarten class; other classes visited the chicks and received worksheets and emu fact sheets.
Joni also had emu oil products and several eggs on display for the students to see, including a double yoked egg, painted and engraved eggs.
The emu chicks stayed with the class for a couple of weeks after hatching before being moved to a new home in the country. As you can see from the photos below (click for larger views) they are adapting well to country life and making interesting new friends.
The farm dogs were as curious about the chicks as the chicks were about them!
During National Emu Week (May 4th through 12), some of the chicks came back for a visit. The children were amazed and excited to see how their little friends had grown in such a short time! In two short months the chicks have gone from being held in their laps to knee high at the back to most of the kindergarten class.
With only a few days left before summer holidays, the kindergarten class is gearing up to fly the coop and become First Graders this next school year!