The Dudley T. Dougherty Foundation

New Life: Hatching Eggs and Growing Tadpoles in a Pre-Kindergarten Class

Grant Information
Categories Peace , Arts , Education , Community
Location United States
Cycle Year 2016
Organization Information
Organization Name (provided by applicant) Belle Chasse Primary School
Organization Name (provided by automatic EIN validation)
Contact Information
Contact Name Angelle Ruppert
Phone 5045956620
539 F. Edward Hebert Ave.
Belle Chasse
Additional Information
Used for I plan to buy a 6 bullfrog tadpoles with a plastic aquarium, and 7 chicken eggs along with an incubator/brooder.
Benefits I expect that these children who experience first-hand the beginning lives of animals will learn to respectfully interact with animals, better understand how we and they depend on maintaining our environment, and be better able to understand and articulate the wonder of metamorphosis and new life.
Proposal Description I want to give the students in my classroom the experience of 2 animals as they develop and grow: bullfrogs and chickens. For the bullfrog, I will order 6 tadpoles, along with a plastic aquarium and air bubbler. For chickens, I will order the Brinsea Mini Advance Egg Incubator Class Set. This includes a fully automatic (turning), temperature/humidity controlled incubator with a 7 egg disk; an egg scope (candler to see inside developing eggs); a brooder; a chick enclosure; a feeder; a waterer; an incubator disinfectant; a cd rom with "Egg Story" lesson plan. I will also purchase chick starter food and 7 fertile chicken eggs.

Besides the 20 preschoolers (4 and 5 years old) that are in my class this year, I and other teachers who wish to can use the incubator, tank and other supplies for years to come. Belle Chasse Primary School has 3 prekindergarten classes and 10 each kindergarten through 4th grade classes. 55% of the children at our school receive free or reduced lunch.

My PreK students are natural scientists who have an innate curiosity. My assistant and I make the most of our children's inherent fascination with the natural world to help them use and learn the processes of scientific inquiry (ask questions, predict, make and explain observations, and draw conclusions). As they use all of their senses to explore, I will help them make connections between their experiences and the big ideas of life science through practical experiences, discussions, and art. The big idea I mainly wish to explore with these materials is that organisms are diverse, yet similar. To do this, we need to explore, observe, and describe a variety of living things.

One of our studies this year will be about pets and animals. Our classroom pet is a comet fish, Cosmo, which the children love and care for -- but he doesn't change much throughout the year. Twice a year (fall and spring when they are migrating), I bring monarch caterpillars into the classroom to watch them metamorphose. It provides a total "Wow!" experience for my 20 budding scientists. I would love to extend this experience to 2 more animals.

Our children's understanding of stewardship will extend beyond our immediate experience. When they are fully grown, the bullfrogs will be suitable for release into our local canals and bayous. The farm from which I will get the chicken eggs has committed to taking them after they are a few weeks old. I consider that our children need to understand the long-term obligations of stewardship of the animals and earth in our care. This will be part of our discussions and investigations throughout our growing experience.

Our preschool program measures student learning using an online portfolio. We use anecdotal notes, videos, and photographs of our students which are shared in real time with their parents and guardians. Far more compelling than any report card or tests, these videos and photographs facilitate a rich dialogue with our parents, who have become very supportive of our curriculum and learning objectives. I anticipate that growing tadpoles and hatching eggs will arouse even greater interest and participation from parents.

Throughout the experiences, we will take pictures, videos, and notes regarding children's understanding of scientific inquiry skills, math skills, knowledge of the characteristics of living things, vocabulary, language, and literacy. Throughout the experiences, children will quantify and measure time and growth. They will use writing (on their own levels) to label and describe what they see. We will help them use art and movement to deepen and illustrate their understanding. My assistant and I will document our children's growth in our usual way (photographs, anecdotal notes, and videos to share with parents).