I have the awesome responsibility of facilitating learning in the Gifted and Talented classroom. My students are in the fifth and sixth grades. Although our county has a variety of schools, my students live in the more rural areas of our district.
Research shows gifted and talented students have special learning and social-emotional needs that need to be met in order for each student to reach their highest learning potential.
Due to the varied needs, interests, talents, gifts, and backgrounds of these students, I am responsible for providing a wide variety of learning opportunities, projects, and resources.
Gifted learners are often seen as the 'best and brightest' students in the class, and that is sometimes the case. However, some gifted students are underachievers due to unmet personal or learning needs, lack of interest in a topic, boredom, or peer pressure. It is my calling to do all I can to provide interesting and challenging learning experiences and a positive learning environment for them to reach their fullest potential.
A classroom aquarium is a great way to teach students about life, ecosystems, animal behaviors, animal needs, and symbiosis. The different species of fish in my classroom salt water aquarium will allow students to observe this type of ecosystem in a way that very few people in our community will be able to do.
My students will be fascinated learning about the care it takes to keep a salt-water ecosystem balanced so that all species can continue to thrive, and play their role, or niche, in this micro-environment.
In setting up the aquarium that was donated to my classroom, my students are already a little familiar with the nitrogen cycle, understanding that there needs to be "good" bacteria to be role of the decomposers and take care of waste. We are ready to add a variety of species to the tank to watch how they interact with their environment and each other, and also learn about water quality. We will test the water each week to make sure the chemicals are at a safe level for all species to thrive, and learn about the water cycle as we see the aquarium water level drop as evaporation happens. We will also measure the specific gravity of the salt water to make sure that the salinity is at the optimal level for survival of the species.
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