Every day is Earth Day in my science classroom. We have saltwater aquarium systems and in addition to regular science classes, I teach an Aquatic Studies elective. Students care for a reef aquarium, coral propagation tank, jellyfish tank, clownfish and anemones, frogs, and culture plankton for live food. Middle school is the perfect time to involve students in environmental science!
As a magnet school, we serve students throughout the district, encompassing a wide range of home language, academic proficiency, and socioeconomic level.
We are also a full-inclusion school, so I teach all students including those with special needs, the gifted and English Language Learners. I teach a rigorous STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) curriculum constructed on a foundation of hands-on learning and real-world application. Aquarium study and care provide excellent applications of science concepts and principles of financial literacy, bringing relevant college and career prep experiences to my students.
Marine aquarium systems provide complex examples of dynamic natural cycles. Students can directly observe coral growth, coloration, polyp extension, and the cause and effect of nutrients and contaminants.
Keeping our reef tanks stable and the inhabitants healthy takes student observation, effort, problem solving, and supplies.
I am requesting an algae scraper and brushes to clean tank walls and rocks. The filter media set will be used in our reverse osmosis-deionization system to make our tap water safe for use in replacing evaporated water and mixing into saltwater. The nitrate test kit will allow students to measure and monitor levels of this chemical compound that affects the health and coloration of corals, as well as the growth of algae. Compressed air is needed to clear dust and salt particles from the housing of LED lighting. Lastly, with so many hands in our teaching tanks, contaminants can reduce the amount of beneficial bacteria available to process waste and can contribute to growth of nuisance algae. The bottled bacteria will boost the population and contribute to clean, healthy aquarium systems.
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