Sunday, May 22, 2016

Cracking the case of embryology

This week we completed our embryo unit in the Library Learning Commons. All students were part of the process whether through investigating, researching, candling eggs, watching a hatch, thinking about hatch ratio, observing the babies, and always asking more and more questions. Our results were fairly good for such a very large batch of eggs. 

Ducks: we were given 12 eggs, 11 were fertile, all hatched, 1 died several days after hatching due to what we think were neurological issues.
Bantam Chickens: we were given 8 eggs, 7 were fertile, all hatched.
Guinea: we were given 2 eggs, 1 was fertile, 1 hatched.
Chickens: we were given 12 eggs, 7 were fertile, 5 hatched, 1 is blind ( and currently living in my house and doing well).
Goose: we were given 2 eggs, 1 was fertile, none hatched. Something went wrong towards the end of this hatch. The egg was moving in the last stages of development but never pipped.

All in all it was very successful hatch. We had tubs of babies in the LLC for at least a week and students would come in to work near them. Their observations, in comparing and contrasting the fowl, were interesting and lead to more and more questions. We talked a lot about the embryo development, and what went wrong with some of our eggs. We discussed failure to thrive and what that meant as well as addressed the duck that was born "crooked." Children were shown how to handle chicks and respect animals. There was A LOT of discussion all week long in the LLC that made me realize how powerful this unit was. We will certainly do it again in a few years. 

One of the most important achievements was documenting this process. When we candled eggs, students saw the embryo at 7 days and again around 14. They heard eggs pip and break the inner lining and then the outer shell. We videoed various stages of the process and I have compiled it in a YouTube video to keep and share. 
Enjoy and keep reading,
The Noisy Librarian
* Be assured all birds had good homes to go to before we set the eggs. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016


Last week I received a long awaited package in the mail. It is a game called Breakout. While on Twitter, I saw that numerous educators were beginning to use this game, so I investigated and decided to purchase it for my students. The premise of the game is a story line with the focus on a locked box that has something inside that you must “break” into to get. However the box has up to 4 different locks on it and clues for the unlocking it are hidden all around the room. There is also a smaller hidden locked box that contains a needed clue. You are timed and have approximately 45 minutes to find and solve all the clues, as a class, and unlock the box.

The best part is not only are problem solving skills required, the games are set to certain curriculum content and spread across the various grade levels so any age can play. I had 7th grade and 6th grade each play a game called Alien Kidnaps the Principal. There is a storyline to follow and clues and puzzles are both on paper and the computer. Students needed to solve cryptic messages, learn about space, do some math, and think to solve the overall larger puzzle.This game centered on teamwork and all the kids worked hard to "breakout" of the box. Both grades removed 3 of the 4 locks from the box but did not solve the last puzzle in time.

Everyone had a lot of fun and I am excited to try it with other grades over the next few weeks. There are various stories that lend to curriculum content: math, history, LA, science and even teamwork. This week we will reflect on what we did right and what we can do better. I hope next year our students can create some of the games to play. If you are an educator, I encourage you to try this game in your classroom.

Keep reading,
The Noisy Librarian