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Ducks Hatch in Classrooms in Collaboration With High School Chemistry Class

Thanks to an Advanced Placement (AP) Chemistry class at Kenmore West High School, students at Holmes Elementary had the opportunity to witness ducks hatching first-hand in their classrooms as part of their life cycles unit.

In May 2016, following the completion of the AP exam, Kenmore West science teacher Edward Clinch and his AP Chemistry students hatched duck eggs acquired through a biological supply company. Clinch cared for and raised those ducks at his home, and they went on to hatch eggs of their own during the 2017-18 school year.

Before the end of the year, those eggs went on to hatch in incubators located in a Living Environment class at Kenmore West and several classrooms at Holmes Elementary.

Clinch’s own students learned from this experience by looking at many different variables and the effect they have upon hatching such as the type of incubator, whether an automatic egg turner is used, humidity levels, cleaning the eggs prior to hatching, and what the weather was like when they were collected.

“The high school kids are just as excited as the elementary kids when the ducklings hatch,” said Clinch, who credits his AP Chemistry students for bringing this project to life during the 2016-17 school year. “The elementary students did this as part of their life cycles unit but in doing so they have contributed to our understanding of what works and what doesn't.”

Clinch is now caring for some of these ducklings while others went to local farms.

Participating were the classes of Kenmore West teachers Christine Sepanic and Anne HusVar and Holmes Elementary teachers Karen Harter, Karen Kull, Courtney Cefaratti, Bethany Maltby, and Rebecca McPartland.

“Our ducks are doing great,” Harter said. “I have a different incubator than everyone else; we have to manually turn the eggs. I used this one last year with the chicks. I had an exceptional hatch rate last year with them as well. My kids and I like to think that it is our human touch and talking to them and the life they feel from us that is the reason for this.

“We loved this experience. The love and awe that happens with these experiences is indescribable.”