Elementary students are learning from the school chicken coop about caring for animals, life cycles, and environmental issues.

Soft SkillsAt Lt. Job Lane Elementary School in Bedford, Massachusetts, the fourth grade has a student and teacher run chicken coop.  For the past year, the coop has been the only one at an elementary school in  Massachusetts. Finding treats of worms for the chickens is now a regular part of playground activity.

The coop houses seven chickens and eight new chicks. The children have named them all. The baby chicks delivered last year have now become fully grown.

Students can weigh eggs, properly hold a chick and measure their wingspan, and show others how to do it.

“They take ownership of it and they remember it,” said Jean Mickle, a fourth-grade teacher. “(When they hold the chickens) they were very careful moving the wing and measuring the wingspan. Using centimeters versus using inches, it makes the math a little easier when they can visualize it… It’s not just a picture that they’re looking at, it’s an actual living thing that they can hold in their hand.”

Eggs are sorted by size into cartons, and then families or staff may take them home.

The coop was donated by a local resident who no longer keeps chickens at home. Funding for the project was provided by the Bedford Cultural Council.

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