Checking Out Chicks At SchoolPosted: May 24, 2013
I remember back in elementary school when my teacher brought in some eggs and an incubator. Eggs led to chickens. I knew that. Probably most of the kids in my class did.
In fact, the only thing most of us had seen come from an egg was on a plate, next to a bowl of cereal on a commercial when they would always say “part of this complete breakfast”. Looking back, I think the teacher understood that about us. That’s why she brought in the incubator.
We watched and watched. Nothing happened, until it did. When the eggs started cracking, things really started happening. We all gathered around the incubator and watched. Soon, we had baby chickens in the classroom.
Not That Remarkable
Pretty routine story, isn’t it? Of course it is. Because it isn’t mine, at least not exclusively. Most people who’ve grown up in the United States in the last fifty years have some version of that story.
There is one version of the story that I’ve never heard. It goes like this:
My teacher brought an incubator and some eggs to class. We watched and watched, but nothing happened. When we returned to school on Monday, we found that the eggs hatched over the weekend.
I don’t know anyone who has an egg incubator story that does not end with seeing the chickens hatch. Everyone witnessed the chicks breaking through, then out of, their shells. I’m certain someone will speak up and say their chickens hatched over the weekend…but most folks were in the class room when the big event happened.
Let’s do some math.
Time (Without Morris Day*)
There are 168 hours in a week. 120 of those hours happen Monday through Friday. Students at the elementary school closest to my house attend school for 7 hours per day, or 35 hours per week.
So, assuming that my neighborhood school is somewhat close to average and chickens are only born on weekdays, kids should have a dismal 1 in 3 chance of seeing chickens born during a school day. There are 17 non school hours on every school day. Despite those odds, most classroom incubator stories end with births during school.
Suppose we take a more realistic approach. Let’s say that chickens are also born on weekends. The odds of seeing a chicken born during school hours fall to nearly 1 in 5. How is it that, with about a 20% chance of chicks hatching during school hours, so many of us have these tales of seeing chicks born during class?
I don’t know. It doesn’t make sense. Even if the teacher knows an egg produced on a given date should hatch by another given date, the odds of having a bird hatch during class are not good.
Obviously this is some trick that is taught as part of the elementary education degree. In fact, I’d go so far that it isn’t even taught until graduation day, to ensure that non-teachers are not accidentally taught the trick.
I’m open to other theories. Discuss.
* Back in the '80's I saw Purple Rain with a girl I was dating. I thought it was totally implausible. Morris Day and The Time were better than Prince and his band. It wasn't even close.