Our journey of raising ducks in the classroom was nothing short of remarkable. There were memories, excitement, challenges and even some downfalls. Throughout the experience we learned critical skills such as patience, responsibility, self-resilience, and problem solving. We received our first set of eggs at the end of March. The wait felt like a lifetime. I do not know who was more impatient, myself or the students. However, 28 days later we witnessed the most beautiful set of ducklings. The wait and patience was well worth it.
Throughout the time in the incubator, we had to make sure the temperature was always set at 99.5 degrees and had to constantly regulate the humidity by adding just the right amount of water. However, we did have setbacks. For example, during the hatching process, our incubator was having functional issues. We quickly had to problem solve and think on our feet. We used a heat lamp to warm the eggs because the heat in the incubator was not working. We had to adjust the heat lamp to the perfect height where the eggs were not too hot, but not too cold. We then kept the lid on top of the incubator so it can hold in the humidity. This took patience, dedication, problem-solving and an incredible amount of teamwork! Another example of when we had to problem solve was when the ducks got older and tried to jump out of their brooder. The students had a blast creating a duckling safe living enclosure.
The students learned so much about these ducks from experience and research. I never had ducks before, so we were learning together! The students actually taught me a bunch of new knowledge! They learned lessons about life, reproduction, illnesses, behavior, accidents and much more! The students were nurturing, respectful and caring when handling these animals. It allowed the students to deepen their awareness of respect regarding living things. It also provided a connection to nature and science. They were so interested in these animals that they would do their own research and write about the ducks without me instructing them too. One student even wrote a persuasive essay to his family about why they should have pet ducks. That family now has three of the precious ducks that their son helped raise in the classroom.
Overall, and most importantly, this experience has brought our class so much joy and allowed us to express empathy, compassion, responsibility and teamwork. These experiences brought smiles and laughter to our class community and allowed each child to be happy, even on challenging days such as SBAC testing. It gave the students something to look forward to everyday. The excitement on their faces when they would walk into the classroom and see a new duckling that hatched was indescribable.
I want to thank Mr. Chavez and Mr. Hill for making this incredible opportunity possible. They have helped out so much! They both provided incubators, support and advice. Mr. Hill provided us with the eggs from his own ducks at home! We would have never been able to do this if it wasn’t for them. School is not just about learning, but also about life skills such as responsibility, problem solving, the value of mistakes, creativity, teamwork and so much more! This experience allowed students to develop all of these life skills. They will take something with them that goes beyond just academics. They will take home memories, laughter, friendships and dedication.