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Adamsville teacher uses chicken coop for unconventional math lessons

Published: May. 27, 2016 at 1:14 PM CDT|Updated: May. 27, 2016 at 3:36 PM CDT
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(Source: WBRC video)
(Source: WBRC video)
(Source: WBRC video)
(Source: WBRC video)

ADAMSVILLE, AL (WBRC) - What happens when a teacher just won't be confined to conventional education? You get a math lesson out of building a chicken coop.

We've followed Ashley Kizer's created lessons before at Adamsville Elementary.

"We began this project to solve a problem," he said. "How could we have chickens at our school?"

His students never dreamed it was a math problem. It turns out you have to do a lot of figuring with numbers to build a chicken coop to comfortably house four chickens.

"We worked to design this and before that we researched what chickens needed to survive," Kizer said. "This is actually a product of our research and our learning. We incorporated our math standards. We did a lot of measurement and fifth-grade math but when we build things we apply our math."

That included researching how much supplies would cost and filling out purchase orders totally up all the costs.

It took weeks to go through the process of building the chicken coop on wheels. The Adamsville Fire Department was really involved in helping, along with just regular folks in the community.

Principal Susan Remick is delighted with the students' enthusiasm and the outpouring of support.

"I think the goal was two-fold, get the students excited about learning and get the community involved," she said. "I think we did both."

Now, she is thinking about what else they can do.

"As we were doing this I started thinking how can we get kindergarten involved, how can first grade get involved," she said. "Second grade started measuring food waste in the lunchroom and found out we were wasting 50 pounds of food. Next year they are going to look at composting."

That includes incorporating what they're learning from the chicken coop with the school garden and perhaps a community farmers market.

Eleven-year-old Sydney Cork is not sure she wants to move on to the middle school since she helped the build the chicken coop.

"When I go to middle school, I am going to tell them I built a chicken coop and why we should try to do it at my middle school," she said.

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