Chicks provide hands-on learning for genetics classes

Chicks provide hands-on learning for genetics classes

A wide array of students enrolled in Genetics and AP Biology have been patiently awaiting the arrival of baby chicks! The chicks sat in an incubator for approximately three weeks while students observed their growth and developmental stages. Students were immersed in a 21-day interactive curriculum that exposed them to real life development.

This school year marks the third annual hatching within Metea genetics courses. Genetics teacher, Kathryn Wyss, has brought a little bit of her home life from central Illinois to the classroom environment at Metea.

“I grew up in central Illinois on a farm with chickens so I think having the chicks is an interactive way to learn that ties into our curriculum. My students get to learn what I grew up with and some of the things that are in rural communities that we take for granted in some of the urban settings. It gives a nice tie from my life to what we are learning in class,” said Wyss.

A recent study conducted by the University of British Columbia relayed that students who engage in immersive and interactive learning styles scored better on tests within that specific class and had higher attendance rates. That comes as no surprise to genetics student and junior Isabelle Cardona.

“Once the chicks hatched, we still had to learn the day’s material before we got to play with them so it was a big motivator for the class to stay focused. In the beginning, they were so cute and fluffy but we got to see them start growing adult feathers and begin to walk around. It was a really cool and enriching experience overall,” said Cardona.

Although Genetics embryonic unit focuses mainly on human development, “Students learn about the whole developmental process of the chick and then we relate that to human development as well and then they get to see how they actually hatch and pip and struggle to get out, and they also get to enjoy the cute little chicks!” Wyss said.

As the year comes to an end, Genetics and AP Biology students send off the chicks to the family farm of Kathryn Wyss. If students are interested in raising chicks enroll in these classes for the next school year!