Suntree Elementary students learn lessons of life with ducks


Suntree Elementary students in 10 classrooms saw dozens of ducklings and chicks hatch in February as part of a Life Cycles project. The baby animals will live at the 4-H Coop at Wickham Park.

Viera Voice Katie Parsons

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, students at Suntree Elementary School got to experience the life cycle firsthand. Dozens of duckling and chick eggs hatched in 10 classrooms after weeks of students watching the eggs in incubation. 

“Hatching Week” culminated a larger Life Cycles learning module with grade-level appropriate science lessons in kindergarten, first-, fourth- and sixth-grade rooms. 

Teacher Marta Griffiths heads up the chick and duckling incubation program at Suntree Elementary and has been doing so for 12 years. 

“When I started this program, only one class was involved and only six chicks hatched. Now, 10 classes and four different grade levels participate. This year, we’ve had 36 ducklings and 112 chicks,” Griffiths said. 

The fertile duck and chicken eggs were obtained from the 4-H Farm at Wickham Park. Other schools in Brevard, such as Surfside Elementary, run similar programs on campus. When the chicks and ducks are large enough, they are moved from the campus to the Wickham Park Coop. Families volunteer time to clean and maintain the coops as part of 4-H learning projects. 

The Suntree students wrapped up their lesson segment by taking the ducklings and chicks to the 4-H Coop on Feb. 23. While there, the students participated in hands-on interactive stations on poultry care, baby goat feeding, gardening and more.

“I’ve really enjoyed watching my son learn through the hatching lessons. It’s so hands-on – the students are learning science and life right in front of them and then they get to witness the births,” said Aran Hissam, whose son Ryan is in Griffiths’ class.