Casper High School and Elementary School Students Collaborate to Help Raise Chickens
People helping people; it's powerful stuff. This is especially true when older kids help out younger kids, which is exactly what happened when students from the Pathways Innovation Center came together to help build a chicken coop for students of Sagewood Elementary and their chickens.
"Sagewood elementary students have embarked on an exciting multi-year adventure, raising chickens!" a press release from the Natrona County School District stated. "While they patiently awaited the big “hatch” day, students busied themselves with research and spent time learning about the process an egg goes through…from yolk to chicken. What began as a classroom project quickly grew into an exciting and collaborative opportunity after teachers saw the students’ enthusiasm about their new little classmates and had the idea of starting an Ag Club."
So, that's exactly what they did. According to the release, Sagewood Elementary's Agriculture Club gives students the opportunity to expand their knowledge and interest in raising chickens, while also learning about other agriculture components and projects.
"My favorite part about the chickens so far was getting to see them hatch," Sagewood student Natalie said. "I have learned that you need to take care of the chickens like you have to keep them warm if they don't have a mama chicken, and you have to feed them and clean their space.”
“We haven’t had a lot of experience with the chickens yet, but it was exciting when they hatched," he shared. "And now, I am excited about the amount of time we will spend raising them.”
But, in order to raise them, the students had to provide an adequate space.
That's where Pathways Innovation Center came in.
"As the chickens grew, it became clear they would require a larger space; from this need, a collaborative project was 'hatched,' the release stated. "The Sagewood Ag Club reached out to Pathways Innovation Center students to see if they would be interested in sharing their construction skills to build a new home for their chickens."
According to the release, "Pathways Innovation Center (P.I.C.) is an extension of Natrona County’s high school system. Pathways Innovation Center is focused on preparing tomorrow’s workforce through academic, career and technical studies by providing students with an authentic and rigorous learning environment in order to graduate productive citizens who are college, career, and military-ready."
These students are also chicken coop-ready.
The PIC students immediately agreed and got to work. They built an enormous chicken coop and an enclosed yard for the chicks.
"It makes me feel really good," Pathways student Trystan said. "It is fun to know that I am a part of helping these kids getting to experience what it is like to raise chickens. That isn't something I ever did in school, and it is cool that these kids get to experience a lot more stuff in school now."
It wasn't just the construction of the coop that bonded these two groups of students together. It was the entire process.
"This collaborative project provided an excellent chance for elementary students to explore what opportunities are available to them in high school," the release started. "Fifth-grade students took a trip to Pathways Innovation Center to see the progress of their chicken coop. While there, students toured the facility and got a sneak peek inside the PIC Core Construction cabin project.
For the Pathways students, it was a chance to serve as mentors for their younger collaborators.
“It’s been really fun showing the kids around because they have so many questions and are so curious,” shared Billy, a PIC Core Construction program student.
Sagewood Principal Annal Lavin was beaming with pride for both her students and the PIC students.
“The collaboration with PIC has been great because it is a connection between two learning environments," Lavin said. "We partnered with them on a shed project before, so I was familiar with their process, but being able to take fifth graders to PIC and experience that learning environment was a huge benefit in showing fifth graders what is to come in their learning journey.”
Additionally, Sagewood held a school-wide contest for students to design a logo for the chicken coop. Eventually, the winning design was chosen and created thanks to the Pathways Innovation Center welding program.
"Finally, move-in day was upon them, and the finished coop was carefully placed in a grassy corner of the playground," the release stated. "While the chickens have been busy exploring their new home, Sagewood Ag Club students are now embarking on the responsibility and enjoyment of learning about and caring for their new chickens."
It was a job well done for all parties involved. It was, in fact, Egg-Ceptional.