I work in an alternative high school for students that have social-emotional disabilities.
These are students that have difficult times being in a regular high school for a variety of different reasons. These students often come from low-income families and have had a lot of trauma in their lives.
My students often times feel left out of high school programs or feel that they are not as important as regular high school students since they are in a separate school. My goal is to bring programs that they would do if they attended the regular high school and get them more involved with the high school community.
My students live in an urban environment where it is difficult to study ecosystems in real life. There are no ponds, lakes, or streams nearby to be able to see first hand how living organisms interact with their environment. My students also have a wide range of learning needs, and having animals in the classroom might also be therapeutic for them.
I would use the hermit crab kit to show students how real-life scientists would create an optimal environment for animals.
They would be setting up the tank, helping maintain the tank, and caring for the animals. Since my students have social-emotional impairments, this activity would also encourage pro-social behaviors like empathy and communication. We can also use this project in my chemistry class to help them learn about water chemistry.
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