By Tyler Shoberg
"What can you tell me about the chicks?" Mary Kay Boeshans asked her students Thursday at the Lodoen Kindergarten Center in West Fargo.
Dozens of hands shot up in the air.
"Yes, Austin," Boeshans said.
"They need water," the boy said, matter-of-factly. "And they're cute."
And so it went, from student to student, as each kindergartener eagerly professed his or her knowledge on the subjects of barnyard fowl and, more specifically, their chicks.
Boeshans class was one of several at the Lodeon Center recently bequeathed with chicken eggs and incubators as part of their science curriculum.
And in a few short weeks of watching and waiting, the students' patience was awarded during the last days of school with the hatching of stumbling, soggy bundles of fuzz.
The kindergartners also learned several interesting tidbits about chicks, such as the temperature needed to hatch is 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and that food and nutrients can be found inside the egg, which is required for the growing embryo.
And, as one student pointed out, chicks are wet when they come out, but are dry and "fluffy" later.
By Thursday, nine chicks in various stages of dampness and fluffiness had hatched out of the 15 eggs nestled in the Styrofoam temperature and humidity controlled incubator. In fact, two had just hatched over the lunch hour, Boeshans said.
Aside from the overall curious and somewhat distracting nature of having "cute" chicks in the classroom, students had to learn to cope with another annoying habit.
"When we are learning, sometimes the chicks are peeping and we have to ignore them," a very astute Brooklyn said.
It was obvious the lessons learned from having the miracle of birth occur in the classroom were not lost on the growing minds of the young scholars. They also knew what was to happen with the chicks after the school year was complete.
"Someone is coming to pick them up and they're going to the farm," Boeshans said.