GOSHEN COUNTY – The quest for chicks begins with an egg, a 21-day incubation process, and a classroom full of students eager to learn more about how to properly handle and care for poultry all while behind the comfort of their school desks.
This 4-H school enrichment program brings the farm inside the classroom, giving the students an engaging experience as they practice science, technology, engineering, and mathematical (STEM) skills.
With more than 120 students in tow, Goshen County 4-H embarked on their third annual “4-H in the Classroom: Chick Quest” initiative this past 2018-2019 academic school year. Over the 21-day incubation, students collected data and completed a variety of experiments related to lessons on chickens, eggs, and poultry. On the 21st day, the chicks hatched, and the students practiced caring for the little critters in their classrooms and kept them for nearly two weeks before they had to return home to the farm.
The “Chick Quest” curriculum uses the hands-on learning model of 4-H Youth Development to teach students STEM skills. The teachers in Goshen County were also very creative in tying the chicks to a variety of other subjects and indicated that completing this program helped improve their academic abilities.
Both students and teachers alike will have the opportunity to visit their classroom birds one last time, as the “4-H in the Classroom” chicks will be on display during this year’s Goshen County Fair. To keep track of the birds at Fair, each classroom was assigned a specific leg band for easy recognition:
• Mrs. Orr’s class: blue, “Angry Birds” tags
• Mrs. Fullmer’s and Mrs. Brummell’s class: yellow, “Pikachu” tags
• Ms. Keeran’s class: red, “Snoopy” tags
• Mrs. Hunter’s class: green, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” tags
• Ms. Eisenbarth’s class: yellow, “Minions” tags
The “4-H in the Classroom” chicks, however, are only one of many attractions that will be exhibited at this year’s fair. The community is encouraged to come and see all of the other 4-H and FFA exhibits August 3-10, as there will also be barns full of sheep, goats, swine, rabbits, cattle, and horses on display, as well as, non-livestock animals like cats and dogs. While you are at the fair, do not forget to stop by the Ag Hall and 4-H Building, as they will be filled with members’ non-animal projects, ranging from cake decorating to photography, from leathercraft to woodworking, and so much more.
The “4-H in the Classroom: Chick Quest” initiative will be offered again in the 2019-2020 school year. A big thank you goes out to 21st Century Equipment and Community Pride Foundation; without them, this program would not have been made possible.
For information regarding the Chick Quest project or anything else related to 4-H, please contact the University of Wyoming Goshen County Extension Office at 307-532-2436.