University of Kentucky College of Agriculture

KENTUCKY - Embryology in the classroom

Poultry eggs are part of a unique reproductive system. The egg serves to protect and provide nutrients to the developing embryo. Since the embryo receives no additional nutrients from the hen, the egg must contain all the nutrients essential for life. Nutrients are found in the yolk, the albumen, and the shell of the egg. The egg is a convenient self-contained package for studying embryolology.


Safe handling of chicks

Wally Cat poster for kids on safe handling of chicks (University of Kentucky)

Hatching quail eggs in the classroom (

Embryology in the classroom - Don't chicken out due to unnecessary health concerns (Pennsylvania State University)

Incubation / Embryology

Where to get incubators and incubator supplies:

Double-R discount supplies





Where to get fertile eggs - In Kentucky contact Mike Ford at the Poultry Research Facility in Lexington


Embryology: The study of life (PennState) - Provides teachers with background information and experiental activities dealing with the life sciences for use in the classroom. Each activity is designed to be grade-level appropriate and has been correlated to the U.S. National Science Educaiton Standards

4-H National Curriculum

Hatching: Classroom Projects - Helper's Guide Beginner (4H CCS BU 07595) This activity book is for 4-H members ages 7-11. 4-H'ers will learn life skills, and science skills as well as skills in embryology such as incubation, preparing a brooder, handling chicks, and exploring careers in the poultry industry

Experiments in Poultry Science - Helper's Guide Advanced (4H CCS BU 07596) This activity book is for 4-H members ages 12-14.  4-H'ers will learn life skills, and science skills as well as skills in embryology such as hatching, identifying parts of an egg, collecting data about embryos and chicks, and many others

From Feedstuffs:

The ABCs of Farming coloring book - is a coloring book Feedstuffs created to honor the many U.S. farm families that dedicate their lives each day to the production of our food and proper care of our farm animals. Drawn by Feedstuffs FoodLink artist Jessi Brummer and authored by Sarah Muirhead, the pictures and messages within provide a glimpse into what food production is all about and the strong values of U.S. farm families in providing the daily essentials of life. Taking young readers through The ABCs of Farming is sixth generation farmer Trent Loos.

From the American Egg Board

  • Eggs 101: A video project - Comprehensive, award-winning egg production education program to educate young consumers about the good animal care practices of the egg industry; teacher's PDF on this disc provides reviews and exercises to correspond with each chapter.
  • Egg Reader (Grades 3-5) - The Egg Reader is an 8-page, full color brochure for grades 3-5. Topics covered include food safety, specialty eggs, animal well being, egg components and grading.
  • Shelly and Shelldon's Eggscellent Advanture (K-4) - Includes wood games, crafts, puzzles, experiments and recipes.

From Arkansas Egg Council

The following publications are available from the Arkansas Egg Council, located at P.O. Box 8505, Little Rock, AR 72205.

  • Eggory's Egg-Craft Ideas (Pre-K-6): This 14-page booklet helps children learn about eggs through art and cooking projects. It includes a wide range of activities. One copy is available to Arkansas residents at no charge.
  • Egg-ceptional Ideas for Food Science Creations (9-12): This 15-minute video shows consumer uses for eggs and details nutritional information and the unique characteristics of eggs that make them so useful. It is valuable for beginning science classes.

From Georgia Egg Council

For a free copy, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to: Georgia Egg Commission, 16 Forest Parkway, Forest Park, Ga. 30297.

  • "Grade "A" Educational and Nutritional Information". This free 9-page booklet gives a general overview of several educational sources on eggs.
  • "Eggspecting" is the name of the Georgia Egg Commission's brochure that stresses the importance of good nutrition during pregnancy. Special attention is given to what the expectant mother should eat during pregnancy and how much.

From the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy

Noah's Ark Today online curriculum - The program is centered on the fundamental concept that the farmyard is a great place to explore, teach, and learn. The program was designed for grades K-5 with a focus on science and social studies.

From the US Poultry and Egg Institute

Poultry and egg production curriculum = a free resource for high school agriculture educators; thirteen lesson plan series provides agriculture educators with a comprehensive curriculum resource needed to teach students about the commercial poultry and egg industry; a professional consultant alighed the lesson plans to national Education Content standards in Agiculture

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VIDEOS videos:

The University of Alberta (Canada)


University of Illinois - Incubation and Embryology

Chickscope 1.5 - University of Illinois

Purdue University - Avian Classroom

Penn State - Embryology in the classroom

North Carolina Sate University - Embryology

Suggestions for poultry-related activities in the classroom:

  • "Egg Baby' parenting - For 8th graders - Allows students to experience some of the responsibilities involved in the care of babies
  • Egg Breakability - Does the temperature of the egg affect breakability?
  • Egg Pitching - Students are challenged to design ways to cushion an egg that is thrown through the air.
  • Semi-permeable membranes - An 'Egg'cellent model  
  • Chirp and Shelby's Exciting Discovery (Purdue University). Agriculture is seen through the eyes of two chicks, Chirp and Shelby, as they travel around the farm and continually question their parents and other animals about agriculture. The goal is for children, both English and Spanish speaking, to develop a better understanding of the food and fiber chain and how a college education helps in the development of products for humans.


Creating Agricultural Awareness through an Interactive Learning Experience: Incubators in the Classroom

The poultry Extension staff at Purdue University has implemented an Extension program for fourth-grade elementary students. The program, called "Incubators in the Classroom", offers interactive experiences by which students can learn about various aspects of agriculture. Interactivity is accomplished through interaction with teachers/educators, CD-ROMs, and other learning materials. The overall programmatic goal is to increase agriculture awareness and enhance education among fourth-grade students. The program was re-vamped in May 1997, and to date has directly reached more than 15,000 students. Presently, the investigators are seeking ways to critically evaluate the program. Critical evaluation is the only objective method of assessing the true impact of this endeavor.

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