Students raise ducklings; send adults to the farm

Arrowview Elementary students learn about basic animal needs

MacKenzie Anderson helps nurse the Arrowview Elementary ducks as part of a recent class project.

MacKenzie Anderson helps nurse the Arrowview Elementary ducks as part of a recent class project.

The ducks have left Arrowview Elementary, but the students learned many valuable lessons.

A joint project of Mrs. Spencer-Dahl ‘s Grade 1 and Kindergarten class and Mrs. Stahley’s Kindergarten class hatched two batches of duck eggs and nursed them through their early life.

“One of the learning outcomes of Grade 1 is to describe the basic needs of animals,” Spencer-Dahl  said, and they begin that process with learning how to observe, make connections and describe animals in Kindergarten, so the project fit nicely for both grades.

“We like to do experiential learning because the students make richer connections to what we are studying. It’s also fun for the whole school because pretty much every single student visited the ducklings at some point,” she added.

The students did everything from candling the eggs, to feeding and bathing the ducklings, she said, until they started to get too big and smelly for the classroom and went to live on the hobby farm of one of the students recently.

A total of 14 ducks started hatching on Earth Day (April 22) and included two types — white Peking and buff ducks.

One “runt” struggled at first but was carefully nursed back to health and, though still much smaller, is doing great with his brothers and sisters.

“The kids really took a liking to giving the littlest one extra loving care,” Spencer-Dahl  said.

She thanked Susan Crosby for making the project possible with the egg donation and lending a state of the art incubator.

“The students were sad to say good bye to our feathered friends,” she said, but they realized they were getting too big and needed more space to be happy and the have started another exciting project.

“Children naturally like life cycles… we decided to do butterflies because it augments our gardening unit,” she said, pointing out the transformation process was a bit more than the kids expected.

“It isn’t pretty like some might expect, the meconium that drips out when they hatch often is mistaken for blood so the kids are fascinated at how messy the process is and that the wings need to expand and dry before they can fly.”