My students are the future scientists and mathematicians that will save our planet. I teach in an urban district that is Connecticut's first all-magnet district. My school is the district's STEM magnet school and we serve approximately 650 students grades preK-5. I have taught in this district for 20 years, 16 of them at this school, and have taught grades 1, 2, 3, and 5.
My students love to dig into investigations and aren't afraid to get their hands dirty.
Whether they are working in our school gardens, conducting inquiry investigations in our science lab, or leading taste tests of healthy foods in our cafeteria, they give it their all.
They come from 20 different communities, but openly embrace their differences and welcome the opportunity to be members of our school, and even our classroom, community. Every student has an important role to play and unique insights to share. Together, we are more than the sum of our parts!
As a STEM school, we are encouraged to have various lifeforms in our classrooms, but we don't always have the funding. Our room is filled with plant life and I would like to add some class pets. We currently have a small tank with two betas (Thurgood and Ruth), but I would like to add a larger tank. Students have demonstrated that they are able to care for the plants and fish we have and are ready for a bigger responsibility.
In addition, we practice mindfulness activities every day at the start of class and watching fish can be a very calming way to focus students' minds and prepare them for the lesson ahead.
Recent studies have shown that watching an aquarium for even a short amount of time can lower blood pressure and slow heart rates - physical evidence of the body calming down.
"British researchers from Plymouth University and the University of Exeter collaborated with the National Marine Aquarium to monitor changes in people’s physical being and mental health after a stint of aquarium-gazing. After watching marine life at the National Marine Aquarium, participants had a reduction in both heart rate and blood pressure. It seems the more, the merrier, as researchers also reported that people were more captivated and had a more positive mood if there were high numbers of fish in the tank."
For these reasons, I am hoping to add a 20-gallon aquarium to our classroom environment. I will purchase the fish and food with my own money, but cannot afford to buy the tank, stand, and equipment.
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