In this egg lesson plan we’ll learn: what are eggs? what are eggs made of? and which animals hatch form eggs? You can watch a chick develop inside an egg and hatch, plus there’s a free printable book about eggs that your children can complete.
What are eggs? lesson plan with free egg printables
This activity is part of my Spring Activities resources, which include an introduction to the season and complete units on Daffodils, Eggs, Seeds and Shoots, and running a Nature Study project. See our full resources and free printables here.
Let’s Learn About Eggs
Today let’s investigate eggs. It’s useful if you have a chicken egg to explore. We’ll be reading, writing and talking about eggs: what they are, what they do, and why they are special to us.
I Wonder What An Egg Is?
Eggs are laid by birds, reptiles, fish, and invertebrates. The egg provides a safe home for the baby animal which is developing inside, until it is ready to hatch and survive on its own.
Eggs can be laid in water or on land. Some animals build a nest and lay their eggs inside.
Eggs can have a hard outer shell, and some are soft and leathery.
Female animals lay eggs, but both the mother and father birds may take turns to incubate their eggs, keeping them warm until they are ready to hatch. Some male animals, such as seahorses and leafy sea dragons, have a special brood pouch in their body where they incubate and take care of the eggs until they are ready to hatch.
I Wonder What An Egg Is Made Of?
A chicken egg is made of different parts. Have you got one you can have a look at? Take care not to get any raw egg in your mouth, and wash your hands after investigating it.
What words can you think of to describe an egg?
Take a look at your egg: what does it look like outside? How does it feel?
Crack open your egg over a dish: what does it look like inside? How does it feel?
You can sketch your egg and make some notes in your nature journal.
The shell is made of calcium carbonate which has the chemical symbol CaCO3. There are thousands of pores on the egg shell which let air and moisture pass through.
The bloom on the outer coating of the egg helps keep bacteria out.
There is a thin membrane inside the egg. Can you peel it off from your shell?
You might see an air cell at the rounded end of your egg.
The egg white is called the albumen. It is a good source of protein.
The egg yoke might be pale yellow or deep orange, depending on the breed of hen and what she ate.
You might be able to see a chalaza, which is a twisted chord inside the egg white which holds the yolk centred within the egg. The more prominent the chalazae, the fresher the egg.
I Wonder What Happens Inside An Egg?
The baby animal develops inside the egg. The egg gives it protection, shelter, and food while it grows.
A baby chicken will stay in its egg for around 21 days. A baby emperor penguin will stay in its egg for around 65 days, and a wandering albatross will stay for 85 days. The magellan plunder fish will guard its eggs for up to 5 months.
Watch how a chicken embryo forms inside an egg and hatches out, over 21 days.
I Wonder Which Animals Hatch From Eggs?
Do you know which animals hatch from eggs? Did you hatch from one?
Animals that hatch from eggs include birds, such as chickens, ducks, geese, and ostriches; some snakes; turtles; crocodiles; most fish; and lizards.
Watch how this mother hens takes care of her eggs and her chicks.
Fun Facts About Eggs!
Did you know….?
:: The biggest eggs in the animal world are laid by whale sharks.:: The biggest recorded egg laid by a bird was laid by an ostrich in 2008. The egg weighed 2.589kg. Ostrich eggs are usually around 15cm in length.
:: Even bigger eggs were laid by animals which are now extinct: elephant birds and dinosaurs.
:: The smallest recorded egg was laid by a vervain humming bird in Jamaica. It was less than 10mm in length and weighed just 0.365g.
:: A hen can lay around 300 eggs a year. She might live up to 20 years, laying eggs her entire life.
:: Eggs that have two yolks (a double yolk) are quite common but it’s possible, but very rare, to have nine egg yolks in one egg!
I Wonder Why Eggs Are Special To Us?
Lots of people like to eat eggs and they can be used in many different recipes: from scrambled eggs, to fried eggs sunny side up, to cakes, mayonnaise, and ice cream.
Do you get a chocolate egg at Easter time? Eggs also have special meanings to people, all around the world, from different cultures and religions.
For Pagans the egg represents the universe.
To Jewish people an egg can symbolise promise and determination.
For Christians an egg is used to symbolise the empty tomb of Jesus, and his resurrection.
In Hinduism, eggs are the source of all creation and life.
In Greek mythology Phanes was born from an orphic, cosmic egg. When he hatched from the egg he then created all the other gods.
In China eggs represent birth and a new start. Special red eggs are given as gifts, and eggs are served at special birthdays, such as a baby’s first month and first year birthdays.
In Egyptian mythology, the god Ra was born from an egg laid by a goose.
And there is a Finnish myth that the world was created from the fragments of an egg laid by a divine duck.
Do eggs have a special meaning in your family? What do they symbolise to you?
Free printable: My Book of Eggs
NurtureStore subscribers canprint this mini book and add it to your nature journal to remind you what you have learned today.
In the mini book you can:
:: re-cap keys points about eggs
:: add your own illustrations
How to make the mini book
The mini book will fold up into a pop-out/French fold book. It’s easier than it sounds! Here’s a visual guide. You need to fold and cut it out as follows:
1. Print off the mini book pdf.
2. Cut out all the way around the outside rectangular edge of the book, to trim off the white edge.
3. Fold your book along the light lines to divide the printable between the pages.
4. Cut a slit along the thicker black line in the centre of the printable.
5. Fold your book in half along the long central line, and then fold the pages. As you do so, pull the inner pages out, giving you your folded book.
6. You can read your book and add your own notes and illustrations to it. You can stick a pocket into your nature journal and keep your mini book inside.
How to download the egg book printable
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(Egg photo courtesy of Piyachok Thawornmat via FreeDigitalPhotos.net.)