Thursday, February 9, 2017

Trout in the Classroom

In Mrs. Jenna Krul’s fifth-grade classroom is a 55 gallon aquarium filled with 52 degree water. Any day now, if it hasn’t happened already, the tank will share that water with 150-200 Rainbow trout eggs.

Mrs. Krul’s class, and the rest of the grade school for that matter, will watch those eggs become baby trout and grow to maturity.  

After passing a pre-test to determine their attitude about the project, and agreeing to a post-project test about what they learned, the fifth-graders raised Bayard’s Grade School banner of excellence and qualified for the grant.

The grant came from the Nebraska Game and Parks and the funds through the Nebraska 
Environmental Trust. It included the tank, equipment for the tank, and the eggs, which came from Montana. In addition, Scottsbluff’s Home Depot donated $75.00 worth of aquarium necessities.

The trout eggs will arrive in the eye stage, (probably so they could find their way from Montana to Bayard,) and will look something like floating black eyes. At this stage of development they’re about 12 days from hatching, and it will be around 27 days until they can swim.

(Isn’t birth interesting: These fish are born in water but can’t yet swim, birds are born in treetops but can’t yet fly, and human babies are born on land but can’t yet walk???)

After the preliminaries promoted wide-eyed anticipation, the learning process included the promise of plenty of classroom participation. The fifth-graders learned how to set up and fill the tank, check the water for nitrates, insulate around the sides of the tank to keep the water cool, and decorate the trout’s habitat.

To make the baby trout feel at home, along with under-water decor, the class decorated the outside the tank with made-in-the-classroom paper plant life. It looked good. I hope the baby trout appreciate the effort.

They may bump their fish-noses on the end of the tank because it looks so real they may think they’re in a stream.

The class will care for the baby trout until they’re grown; then they will ship them to Montana where they’ll be kept in an aquarium for display purposes. The grant included the cost to ship the trout north.

After the babies are grown, the fish hatchery in Montana will sent the class grown trout prepared for them to dissect, explore, and study the internal organs.

To share their experience, the fifth-graders will make videos with commentaries and post them on Facebook.

The classes response to the project included “it’s gonna be fun,” and “it’s a cool thing to do.” Also, because many of them are familiar with trout, they’re anxious to learn about their habits and of course dissect the samples sent to them.

When asked if they were going to name the fish they said they were going to name them all “Bob.”

I’m just gonna leave it at that.

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