Egg to Chick Teacher's Page

A WebQuest for Grades 1-2, WebQuest Agricultural Series
by Missouri Farm Bureau and Missouri State University


This WebQuest is intended to complement a classroom embryology project. However, realizing that some districts no longer allow embryology projects due to health or other reasons this unit may also be used in lieu of actual incubation by the use of virtual resources.

From Egg to Chick is the study of the development of a chick embryo. Birds are unique in that they have life cycles that begin with growth inside a hard shelled egg. Baby birds can hatch at different stages of development. When a baby Robin hatches it is naked (no feathers), is blind, cannot walk, and it's parents must feed it so it will live. A baby chick hatches with downy like feathers, is able to see, and it is able to walk, eat and drink by itself shortly after hatching.

Introduce the term incubation to the students. Students need to understand that not just any egg will hatch. Fertile eggs must be kept under the proper conditions of temperature and humidity for development of the embryo to occur. Different kinds of eggs have different incubation periods. Chicken eggs take 21 days. The mother hen will sometimes incubate her own eggs but the poultry industry uses large incubators. Mother hen turns her eggs several times a day so the embryo will not stick to the shell. Turning is done automatically in the incubators.

Other activities found with the introduction will help students that living things have offspring and that a parent-offspring relationship is based on the organism' physical similarities and differences.

1. Students are directed to click here and then click the days to watch a chick grow in an egg. Each link will show a day in the development of the chick embryo over the 21 day incubation period. Students then click here and drag their mouse across the picture. If they do it right, students will see changes in the egg over the incubation period. These pictures were made by "candling" eggs. Candling is done by holding the egg against a bright light to illuminate the contents of the eggs. Students can then see the shadow of the embryo. That is why the egg appears darker and darker as the chick takes up more space in the egg.

2. Help the students make an incubation graphic organizer. Let students pick any five days out of the 21 days. On the graphic organizer they should draw and color the chick as it grows these five different days. They may also print out pictures of growing chicks; cut them out and then paste them on the graphic organizer.

3. Students will click here and then drag the mouse across the picture to see a chick hatch. They will see changes in the picture showing a chick coming out of the egg. Notice that the chick pips a slit around the egg to "engineer" its own birth. Mother hen does not help. The chick is wet when it hatches but it soon dries out soft and fluffy.

4. Break an egg into a dish and help the students identify the yolk, white (albumen), chalaza, shell, germ spot (germinal disk), and the air cell (which will be in the big end of the inside of the shell). Have students label fresh egg parts. If your students break eggs or touch any part of the egg they must wash their hands with soap and water. The risk of salmonella is small but let's not take any chances. We suggest that only the teacher break the eggs.

5. Optional activity. Coloring the chick activity is merely a fun activity that will help young learners develop their color and mouse skills.

6. There will be a variety of answers in this section. The answers can cover, feather differences and colors, size, comb shapes and sizes, leg colors and size as well as other observations.

Rubric For Graphic Organizer and Written Plan 

3 pts.
2 pts.
1 pts.
0 pts.
 Graphic Organizer
Organizer includes 5 pictures and coloring is done accurately.
 Organizer includes at least 4 pictures with coloring. Organizer includes only 2 or 3 pictures with some color. No attempt.
Egg Parts
Identifies parts of the fresh egg correctly. Identifies most parts correctly. Tried but has inaccuracies. No attempt.
Paragraph Well organized, clearly written with no spelling or grammatical errors. Organized, clearly written with some spelling and/or grammatical errors. Unorganized, poorly written with numerous spelling and/or grammatical errors.  No attempt. 

Missouri's Grade-Level Expectations (GLEs)

1 Develop and apply skills and strategies to the reading process

E Develop vocabulary by listening to and discussing unknown words in stories (ST: CA 2, 3 1.5, 1.6) (FR: I 6d, 1e, K-4)

Develop vocabulary through text, using base words , classroom resources (ST: CA 2, 3 1.5, 1.6) (FR: I 6d, 1e, K-4)
Develop vocabulary through text, using, context clues, glossary and dictionary (ST: CA 2, 3 1.5, 1.6) (FR: I 6d, 1e, K-4)

H Develop and demonstrate, with assistance, post-reading skills after reading or read-alouds to respond to text, question to clarify, retell, illustrate (ST: CA 2, 3 1.6 & 3.5) (FR: I 1e,3g,4e & f, II 1c,d,f & h, 2d K-4)

Apply post-reading skills to identify the main idea and supporting details, question to clarify, reflect, summarize, paraphrase (ST: CA 2, 3 1.6 & 3.5)

(FR: I 1e,3g,4e & f, II 1c,d,f & h, 2d K-4)

STRAND 3 Characteristics and Interactions of Living Organisms

1. There is a fundamental unity underlying the diversity of all living organisms.

B Organisms progress through life cycles unique to different types of organisms (K-2)

Scope and Sequence -- Life Cycles of Animals (K-2)

a. Recognize that animals progress through life cycles of birth, growth and development, reproduction, and death (K-2)

b. Record observations on the life cycle of different animals (e.g., butterfly, frog, chicken) (K-2)

c. Sequence the stages in the life cycle of animals (i.e., butterfly, frog, chicken) (K-2)

3. There is a genetic basis for the transfer of biological characteristics from one generation to the next through reproductive processes.

D There is heritable variation within every species of organism

Scope and Sequence -- Parent -- Offspring Relationships (K-2)

a. Recognize that living things have offspring

b. Recognize a parent -- offspring relations based on the organisms' physical similarities and differences (K-2)

Scope and Sequence -- Life Cycles of Animals (K-2)

a. Identify and relate the similarities and differences between animal parents and their offspring (K-2)

b. Recognize similarities and differences among multiple offspring of an animal parent (K-2)

 National Education Standards

Science: Strand 3, Sec. 1 B&D
Language Arts: Writing, Sec.5

Communication Strategies

  • Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purpose.

Life Cycle of Organisms

  • Plants and animals have life cycles that include being born, developing into adults, reproducing, and eventually dying. The details of this life cycle are different for different organisms.
  • Plants and animals closely resemble their parents.
  • Many characteristics of an organism are inherited from the parents of the organism, but other characteristics result from an individual's interactions with the environment. Inherited characteristics include the color of flowers and the number of limbs of an animal. Other features, such as the ability to ride a bicycle, are learned through interactions with the environment and cannot be passed on to the next generation.


It Started as an Egg

Another Chick WebQuest

Diagram of Fresh Egg

A Great Site for Incubation Projects


Blanchet, Francoise. What to do with...An Egg. New York: Barron's Woodbury, ©1979.

Eggcyclopedia. American Egg Board. 1460 Renaissance Drive, Park Ridge, IL 60068.

Garelick May. What's Inside?. New York: Scholastic Book Services,. ©1968.

Griffin, Margaret. The Amazing Egg Book. New York: Addison Wesley. ©1989.

Hariton, Anca. Egg Story. New York: Penguin Books. ©1992.

Helwig, Hans. Farm Animals. New York: Random House. ©1978.

Lauber, Patricia. What's Hatching Out of the Egg?. New York: Crown Publishers. ©1975.

Milgrom, Harry. Egg-ventures, First Science Experiments. New York: E. P. Dutton. ©1974.

Nassiet, Claude. Egg Art. New York: Drake Publishers. ©1971.

Pflug, Betsy. Egg-speriment. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott. ©1973.

Provensen, A and M. Who's In The Egg? New York: Golden Press. ©1970.

Selsam, Millicent. All About Eggs. New York: William R. Scott. ©1952.

Johnson, Sylvia. Inside an Egg. New York: Lerner Publications. (A Lerner Natural Science Book) . Reprint October, 1987.

Go back to the Egg to Chick activity page.

This page was developed by the late Barbara Irwin, reviewed by Lyndon and the late Barbara Irwin and is maintained by Missouri Farm Bureau. Please address questions to Diane Olson at Missouri Farm Bureau.