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West Hartford Students Hatch and Raise Ducklings as Part of Science Curriculum

Students at Solomon Schechter Day School in West Hartford hatched and raised five ducks. Submitted photo

Students at Solomon Schechter Day School in West Hartford watched the progress from the eggs stage, to hatching, and then learned to care for the ducklings.

Submitted by Sophie Kruger

Students at Solomon Schechter Day School in West Hartford hatched and raised five ducks. Submitted photo

Third and fourth grade students at Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Hartford hatched five ducks after months of watching them grow inside their eggs and logging the progress.

The ducks – two Pekin, two Blue Swedish, and one Indian Runner – provide the students with a hands-on, multi-disciplinary path to engage in science.

Before the ducks were hatched, students had the opportunity to handle the eggs and observe the embryos growing. They learned about and saw the daily progress of the web of blood vessels, the beating hearts, hearing them pip, watching the ducks move in the eggs, and even seeing the ducks hatch.

Students were able to watch, learn, and engage by shining an incubator light on the eggs that allows them to see interior growth.

The process of raising ducks is multi-disciplinary. Students keep a daily diary with progress including a daily measuring and weighing of the ducklings in gram weight, centimeter, and inch height, and girths.

The third grade students also wrote essays about the ducks, and fourth-grader Jeremy Eisen wrote a poem about the Indian Runner.

The third and fourth grade students also acted as mentors to younger students visiting the classroom. They explained the process to the younger students and practiced their public speaking skills including fielding questions.

The process of tracking, hatching, and raising the ducklings for a short time also teaches the students the importance of caring for all living things.

The duck eggs are purchased on eBay, but Schechter started this program years ago under the advisement of Kem Appel, founder of the Connecticut Waterfowl Trust. The purpose of the trust is to enjoy various waterfowl and since founding the “Incubator in the Classroom” program with Schechter teacher Helen Schwartz years ago, Appel has worked to expand the program to other schools.

Students at Solomon Schechter Day School in West Hartford hatched and raised five ducks. Submitted photo

Raising ducks in the classroom allows students to engage in Schechter’s core values, including Chochma, or wisdom, and Lev Tov, or a good heart. In addition to the educational benefits, caring for the ducklings affirms the need for students to be compassionate and caring toward all living creatures.

Jeremy Eisen’s poem:

This duck is a brown-gray hue, with a tint of blue

This duck stands up straight like no other, for it is an Indian Runner

This duck seems to be growing fast, for it is turning vast

This duck occasionally elongates its legs and likes to devour hard-boiled eggs

This communicates with his friends in such an unusual way and he does this every day

Students at Solomon Schechter Day School in West Hartford hatched and raised five ducks. Submitted photo

Students at Solomon Schechter Day School in West Hartford hatched and raised five ducks. Submitted photo

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