Chickens Thematic Unit

Although this chickens thematic unit study is written for homeschoolers, it can be used by anyone. Suggestions have been given on how to adjust it to older children as well as younger.


The median age for this unit study is from about second through fourth grades. Don't be afraid to adjust the lessons to fit your personal homeschooling needs; after all, that is why you are homeschooling! You will need to add math.


A quick word about copyright. Everything within this article is my own work. Please don't copy it to your blog, your chat board, or anywhere else without my written permission. Web content is copyrighted just like published content is...it is just easier to steal. This is an experiment for me, if it works I will be glad to write free thematic units on a regular basis. If I have to spend too much time hunting down copyright violators I cant write unit studies.


This is meant to be a quick, week long unit study. You can add books and projects to look more in depth if you like. If you have property where you can keep chickens then using an incubator to hatch eggs is a great educational experience. If not, then there are so many other ways to study chickens.

Barred rock hen (c) marye audet
Barred rock hen (c) marye audet

Chickens Unit Study: Language Arts

Vocabulary

  • Fowl
  • Poultry
  • Egg
  • Chick
  • Poult
  • Rooster
  • Cockerel
  • Pullet
  • Broody
  • Nesting box
  • Flock
  • Free range
  • Beak
  • Crop
  • Vent
  • Heritage breed
  • Chicken tractor
  • Beak
  • Chalazae
  • Cloaca
  • Oviduct
  • Nest egg
  • Nest
  • Zoning laws

Handwriting

Have you student choose one of the following quotes. You should go over any vocabulary they may not know, and read it aloud together. Talk about what it means, or why the person might have said it. The student will then practice writing the quote daily in his best handwriting.

On Friday have them write the quote and then illustrate it.

  • Don't count your chickens before they are hatched ~ Aesop
  • Which came first, the chicken or the egg? ~ unknown
  • I don't know which is more discouraging, literature or chickens. ~E. B. White
  • “Curses are like young chickens, they always come home to roost” ~ Robert Southey

Reading

Please carefully review the books listed to make sure that they fit in with your family's beliefs and are something you want to read. Some books listed are written on an adult level and some are written on an elementary level. If your child seems to have a particular interest in something from one of the books use it to create a more in depth chickens thematic unit.

Choose a book to read aloud:

  • Hen and the Art of Chicken Maintenance
  • From Egg to Chicken
  • Pocketful of Poultry
  • The Plot Chickens
  • Chicken Little
  • Still Life with Chickens (adult/older students)
  • The Hoboken Chicken Emergency
  • Mother Carey's Chickens
  • Horton Hatches an Egg
  • Green Eggs and Ham

Science

Classify the chicken:

Kingdom-animalia

Phylum- chordata

Subphylum-vertabrata

Class- Aves

Order -Galliformes

Family- Phasianidae

Genus -Gallus

Species - G. domesticus

Print out a drawing of an egg and label the parts

  • Print out a drawing of an embryo and label the parts
  • Make a bouncy egg: Cover a raw egg with vinegar. Allow it to sit in the vinegar for about 72 hours, or until you stop seeing bubbles. The egg will feel rubbery...and it will bounce. It is still raw so it will break eventually, be careful. Why does it get rubbery? The vinegar dissolved the shell of the egg, leaving only the membrane.
  • Chickens are omnivores. What does that mean? What do they eat?
  • What are some predators of chickens?

History

What are heritage breeds and why are they important?

Have your student write a paragraph on various heritage breeds of chickens and what their strengths are, where they developed, and how they were used.

  • Use a blank world map to mark where the various breeds developed
  • Why did they develop some of the unique characteristics that they have (each breed)
  • Make a lapbook of the various heritage breeds.
  • What are the differences between the egg layer, the meat chicken, and the dual purpose?
  • Why would the dual purpose chicken be more valuable to the small farmer or homesteader?

Projects for the Chickens Thematic Unit

  • Coloring page
  • Images of a chick hatching
  • Make your own incubator
  • Visit a small farm, or someone who raises chickens if you don't have any of your own
  • Buy free range, organic eggs, and commercial, conventional eggs. If you have access to eggs from a neighbor get one of those too. Compare the shells, color and hardness. Which shell is hardest? Break each egg onto a separate plate. Compare the color of the yolks, how much they stand up above the whites, and the density of the whites. Which egg seems freshest? Which has the darkest yolk? Why do you think this is?
  • What is a chicken tractor? Consider building one if you have chickens.

Final Thoughts

This is not an all inclusive chickens thematic unit study and it isn't meant to be. Use it as an introduction to chickens for your students, and add to it as you see fit. After a week of studying chickens go on to something else if you are ready, or look more in depth into raising chickens with Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens.

Make it fun!

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Comments 2 comments

Missy Mac profile image

Missy Mac 4 years ago from Illinois

I am a newbie and I have several thematic units. Good unit and thanks for the great idea.


Joy At Home profile image

Joy At Home 7 years ago from United States

This looks fun. My mom did a lot of unit studies with my siblings and I. I remember most of them very clearly.

I have linked to this article, here: http://hubpages.com/animals/The-Life-of-a-Chick-Fr...

It is an account of my mom raising Cornish Rock chickens for eating. I thought your readers might find it a nice addition to your unit study, depending on their angle.

Good work! Looking forward to more.

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