"Incubators in the Classroom"
by Ryan A. Meunier

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Purpose
    The purpose of the "Incubators in the Clasroom" Program is to educate school children about embryology and agriculture through an interactive learning experience.

Introduction
    Students at all levels (college, elementary, and high-school) are seeking hands-on experiences in their classes, especially in Life Sciences.  In order to address this need, educational programs must be developed that include hands-on experiences and enhance the learning potential of students.  Programs developed that include embryology have been very successful and have targeted student needs.  The Purdue University "Incubators in the Classroom" has blossomed since 1997.   The current embryology program offers classrooms: 1) incubators (n=18) to hatch chicken eggs, 2) a teacher's lesson guide on incubating chicken eggs, 3) a lesson guide covering the process of egg formation within the hen reproductive tract, 4) a poster with chick embryonic photographs at every stage of the incubation period, 5) a CD-ROM which depicts the development of a chick embryo, 6) a housing, brooding, and chick safety guide, 7) a color along chick book for young children, and 8) a bilingual (English and Spanish) story-line agricultural learning guide and CD-ROM which illustrates the importance of food, fiber, and education.
  Collectively, these learning materials provide a better understanding of agriculture and the process of incubating chicken eggs. 

    The incubators and embryology publications have been well received by educators throughout Indiana.  It is for this reason that Carolina Biological Supply Company and Purdue University have recently reached agreement regarding mass production of the chick developmental CD-ROM, agricultural learning guide book and CD-ROM, and the chick embryo poster.  These products will soon be available nationally through Carolina Biological Supply Company. 


Evaluation of the Educational Materials Created for the Incubators in the Classroom Program
-- Ryan Meunier Thesis Research

The success of the "Incubators in the Classroom" Program has warranted the addition of several educational materials since 1997.  However, the majority of the materials have been tailored to educators not school children.  Mr. Ryan Meunier's thesis research began with a needs assessment of fourth grade classrooms that were utilizing the "Incubators in the Classroom" Program.  The goal of this assessment was to determine what information students actually received regarding embryology and agriculture.  Following assessment, Mr. Meunier developed a five-day curriculum for use with the "Incubators in the Classroom" Program.  The curriculum placed emphasis on all aspects of agriculture, including the science behind animal agriculture and embryology.  Mr. Meunier then developed a pretest and posttest and began recruiting Indiana fourth-grade classrooms within certain populations that were willing to participate in his research.   Currently, Mr. Meunier is compiling the results of the pretests and posttests.   He hopes to finish analysis and his thesis by December 2000. 

For more information regarding the "Incubators in the Classroom" Program and/or how to get eggs into your organization contact Mickey A. Latour or Ryan A. Meunier.

Other Useful Information Associated with the "Incubators in the Classroom" Project
1. General Poultry Information that can be used in your classroom (includes nomenclature and tidbits of information regarding chickens, ducks, and turkeys).
2. Contact Information for ordering "Incubators in the Classroom" learning materials -- Purdue University Agriculture Communications Media Distribution Center

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This page was last updated on September 25, 2000.