NEW HAVEN — There’s something fishy going on at New Haven Elementary School (NHES), and thanks to the efforts of teachers Jacque Richardson and Shayla Blackshire, the community can keep an eye on what’s happening along with the students.
Richardson and Blackshire were among the 86 educators across the state to receive West Virginia Department of Education’s STEM-minded Educator Grants. STEM represents science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The grant money will be used to enhance the school’s Trout in the Classroom project.
Trout in the Classroom, now in its eighth year at NHES, is an environmental program that allows students to raise trout from eggs until their release at “fry” stage. The children monitor tank water quality, study stream habitat, and learn and understand ecosystems. NHES has raised brown, golden and tiger trout over the years, which have been released at the Kanawha State Forest and a stream at Bridge Valley College in Montgomery. This year, students are raising both brown and tiger trout.
The $900 grant funds will buy water testing kits for 24 classrooms, measuring cups, pipettes, and other supplies, as well as a web camera. The grant will allow each classroom to have its own testing kit to test the trout water, according to Richardson. The classes test for the pH level, as well as ammonia, nitrates and nitrites. She added each student will have a trout journal to record their information in. The web camera will provide for daily videos to watch the trout progression.
“All classes can see the tank even if they don’t visit the lab,” said Blackshire. “We can also share with the public and the students when they are home.”
The trout lab provides opportunities for specific state standards to be addressed by teachers for the students. The project uses all aspects of STEM, and allows for each teacher to choose lessons based on grade levels.
The school has a Facebook page, “New Haven Elementary Trout and More,” that shows the videos of the growing trout. The public is invited to join.
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Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.