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Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

Join us to try to find the answer to the age-old question 'Which came first, the chicken or the egg?' In this live lesson, we will join Deb to find out where eggs come from, how they develop into chickens and how newborn chicks are cared for.

Your pupils will also have front row seats to watch some chicks hatching from the comfort of their own home or classroom and we will challenge them to put their STEM skills to the test and design an incubator.

Broadcast on Wed 10 Mar 2021
  • 45 mins
  • Ages 5-7
Curriculum links
  • Describe and compare the structure of different chicken breeds
  • Notice that animals, including humans, have offspring which grow into adults
  • Describe the basic needs of animals, including humans, for survival (water, food and air)

NFU Education has provided supporting teacher resources for this lesson. The 'Life Cycle Cards' can be used during the live lesson and the 'Design an Incubator' student sheet is a STEM challenge that can be used after the lesson.

If you have never joined a live lesson before, see the guidance hub, where you will find technical and educational support.

Live lessons work best when students have some prior knowledge and have prepared questions. Read our How to generate higher-order questions guide and give the children some time to generate some questions about chickens, eggs, and animal welfare.

Questions and shout outs can be submitted in advance via the Live Lesson tab in your Encounter Edu profile.

Session steps

1. Introduction (5 mins)
Jennie will open the lesson with a brief introduction to 'Which came first, the chicken or the egg?’ and the concept of life cycles. She will then welcome our guest, Deb the founder of Eggucation and a rare breed chicken keeper.

2. Starter activity (2 mins)
The children will be asked to sort the chicken life cycle cards into the order that they think they belong in.

3. Subject knowledge (15 mins)
Deb will explain where her eggs have come from and how she cares for them. She will explain how an incubator works and compare it with a hen. The children will have the opportunity to watch the eggs hatching, meet some older chicks and learn how Deb cares for them at each stage of their life cycle.

4. Activity (8 mins)
Using their learning, the children will then be asked to rearrange their life cycle cards to show how life cycles are a continuous process with no start and end point. They will then be challenged to design an incubator that mimics the features of the hens they have met.

5. Q&A and conclusion (15 mins)
Deb will answer some of the questions students have submitted.


Jennie Divine head shot

Jennie Devine

Education Manager, National Farmers' Union


Deb Howe

Founder & Chief Eggucator, Eggucation

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