The 1st grade students at Memorial Elementary School in New Gloucester, Maine are learning some extraordinary lessons thanks to their teacher, Ms. Wallace and the pet fish in their classroom. Through the fish, students are learning how to grow produce (bib lettuce, rosemary, celery, broccoli, and tomatoes) in their tank, how to care for animals, how to feed the fish and test the water levels, and so much more:
“Having the fish in the classroom have given my students something to care for that relies on their care only. Children take turns feeding the fish and testing the water levels: PH, ammonia, nitrites and nitrates. We have a data sheet that we are able to look at that students record the levels and keep track of safe levels verses poor levels.”
But the 1st grade students aren’t the only ones learning from the fish and their tank. In addition to their own classroom learning, the first grade teamed up with the middle school to share knowledge of levels of chemical balances and how to keep the plants healthy. They have also connected with the Unviersity of Southern Maine and their 4-H program, having college students help the first graders draw connections with the ecosystem of their aquarium and that of real life.
From growing their scientific knowledge, to collaborating across multiple age groups, to learning the responsibility of caring for other living things, these students have had an educational experience that would not have come through studying a text book. What an incredible learning opportunity!