Exclamations of “The eggs are here! They are so little!” filled the halls of both Helper Middle and Creekview Elementary schools as a small cooler with precious cargo entered the schools last Tuesday morning. The students had been anticipating the arrival of the eggs for weeks. Brett Prettyman, intermountain communications director for Trout Unlimited, and Jordan Nielson, Price River Project Manager, facilitated the delivery of the eggs to the schools.
This is Creekview’s second year participating in the national program called Trout in the Classroom hosted by Trout Unlimited, while it is Helper’s first year.
The program at both schools is conducted across the grade levels. The tank at Creekview is in the library, while the tank at Helper is in the commons room. This provides easy access for all teachers and students for instruction, student observation and quiet contemplation.
Every class learns about the life cycle of rainbow trout, their requirements for survival in the wild and how those requirements are duplicated in the aquarium. Beyond that, the curriculum is tied to the science standards for a specific grade level.
Kindergarten, first and second grade students explore relationships in an ecosystem, diversity of organisms in an ecosystem and behaviors that assist in the survival of the young.
Third, fourth and fifth grade students look at adaptations of the trout, how changes in the environment affect the trout eggs, similarities of life cycles in different animals, and how internal and external structures support survival.
Middle school students focus on water quality, such as pH and ammonia concentrations, and the biological cycle that influences that system in nature that ultimately affects the population. They also are exposed to how environmental and genetic factors influence the growth of the trout.
Beyond the educational benefits of these lessons is the wonder in the voices of the students. Quiet statements such as, “There is a living thing in there” are heard, as well as loud exclamations of, “One just hatched!”
In May, the schools will be releasing the fingerlings in the Carbon County Fairgrounds Pond and Gigliotti Pond in Helper.