Despite the fact that teen pregnancy rates were down in 2011, there were still 329,797 babies born to teenage mothers between the ages of 15 and 19 in that year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Egg baby projects aim to prevent teen pregnancy by giving students, usually middle or high school age, a glimpse into the life of a parent. You can't just pass out a bunch of eggs, however. Teaching your students how to take proper care of their egg baby is the most important part of the overall lesson.
First Things First
Eggs are fragile, so students need a lesson in preventing their egg babies from cracking or getting broken. Bring in elements of how fragile human babies are, and discuss with your class what it takes to protect them from injury. Remind the students that they need to cradle their eggs carefully instead of tossing them in their backpacks. To cut down on the mess of broken eggs, you might hard-boil the eggs instead, though these can put off a noticeable smell. Many teachers have their students blow out the eggs, which will cut down on any smell but will make them a bit more fragile too.
Get a Babysitter
Babies cannot be left alone. Require students to find babysitters for their eggs if they have other commitments such as sports practice or a piano recital. Tell students that they don't actually have to pay the babysitter, but they must keep track of how many hours their egg baby spends with the sitter so they can determine how much they would spend if the baby was real. For example, tell students that the going rate for babysitters is $10 an hour, so if over the course of the project they need care for 20 hours, they will spend $200 on child care costs.
Illness and Disease
Because some babies are born with birth defects, developmental disorders or illnesses, students need to learn about the extra work required to take proper care of these sick babies. Assign each student a potential birth defect such as cleft palate; a developmental disorder such as down syndrome; or a common infant ailment such as diaper rash, and have them research their assignment, including what type of care these babies need and how much it can potentially cost to provide that care. For example, if a student is assigned diaper rash, she would need to determine what the treatment would be including how much a visit to the doctor would cost as well as how much diaper rash cream costs. Have the students share their research with the class.
Many egg baby units require students to fashion a baby carrier or car seat since these are crucial safety issues when it comes to babies. Encourage your students to use small cardboard boxes and fabric scraps to create a carrier that cushions the egg baby and helps reduce the risk of it breaking. Tell students that they can also make other baby items, such as swings or cribs, because these increase the baby's safety as well. If class time permits, you might delve more deeply into safety issues such as how to prevent sudden infant death syndrome and how to protect a baby's soft spot.
Supplies and Costs
It takes a lot of money and supplies to take proper care of a baby, and requiring students to learn about and research these things will give them a better idea of what being a parent truly requires monetarily. Give students a list of things babies need such as a crib, car seat, high chair, diapers, wipes, bottles and clothes. Ask the students to research how much these items can cost and prepare a bottom line total for how much they would need to spend if their egg baby were, in fact, a real baby. Of course, their totals will vary, but sharing the numbers with the class will help the students understand the cost output required to take proper care of a baby.
- cmeder/iStock/Getty Images