Method's Classroom - The Planted Tank Forum
 7Likes
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-21-2015, 04:42 AM Thread Starter
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
Method's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Annapolis, MD
Posts: 398
Method's Classroom

This is a story about passion for science, the amazing capabilities of children, and a little help from our friends.

When I interviewed for a job as a science teacher at a middle school outside of Washington D.C., the principal asked me what 'elective' course I would like to teach if I could have my choice of anything. Being a planted tanker my answer was obvious.

After I got the job I started two classes called "Aquarium Science"; one for sixth graders and one for seventh. Between 15 and 20 young aquarists in each. My students last year were very patient. They spent almost half of the year learning applicable theory: biology, chemistry, art and design, environmental science, conservation biology, etc. We were the first members of a new charter school and our budget was limited. The principal had told me that he would try to get our classes whatever we needed. I convinced him that my students and I would be able to have a very successful class while only asking the school for materials if we absolutely had to.

In November we got our first break. The kids had collaborated on Google Docs to write grant proposals to local businesses. The owner of the best LFS in Maryland, House of Tropicals, told me that he would get in touch with his suppliers and donate ten 10 gallon Aqueon tanks and ten Aquaclear 20 filters. Those tanks still have the House of Tropicals stickers that I asked for on their fronts! The school chipped in twelve Aqueon Pro 50 heaters that I'd ordered and I brought my two spare 10 G tanks and Aquaclear 30 filters. We were all set.

We didn't have much room last year. Being a public charter school entitled us to some attention from the county for things students needed, but we still had to rent our school. 300 middle schoolers crammed into an old elementary school didn't leave us a whole lot of room for tanks. I elected to get industrial-style shelves on which to put the tanks. It wasn't ideal, but everyone loved it. As you can imagine, very few of my students had experience with fish keeping; even fewer with the miniature ecosystems that are planted aquaria.

We were helped out tremendously last year. Our local PetCo has a few employees that are EXPERT fish keepers. After I'd been a few times to shop for sundries I sparked a conversation with a manager and the head of the fish department. They offered to give us any plants that were unsellable: crypts that had melted, stems that were straggly, anubias with holes in the leaves, you get the idea. Plants that were perfectly good but just needed some TLC- the perfect opportunity to teach the students the patience required in our hobby! We got a BIG bag of plants every two to three weeks. Major kudos to these employees from a chain that sometimes gets a little stereotyped by planted tank people (I was one of them).

We also experienced a great deal of kindness from members of this very forum. @Falcoo, @Thenoob, @j03yYunG, @caique, @RWaters, @shrimpo, @TankFreak420, @Raith, @Squrl888, @MCHRKiller, @EChord, and @Oceangirl either RAOKed us or outright donated stuff to the class. We got everything: snails (including assassins), stems, swords and crypts, ferns and mosses. Thanks everybody. I tried to leave feedback for you all, but I still feel like I missed some. If I haven't mentioned you here, please PM me so I can give you the thanks you are due!

We subbed our tanks with Black Diamond because it's cheap and effective. We used Home Depot single T8 shop lights (~18 inches above the sub). We tested with API kits and fertilized with my stash of Green Leaf ferts (my tanks are all low-tech, so a little goes a long way).

After a lengthy cycling period (interrupted by the winter break), our kids started getting fish in January/February. Most of these were either cheap fish from PetCo (platys, glowlight tetras, etc.) or extras from home (emerald eyed rasboras, beckford's pencilfish, otos).

We ended the year happy. This year, of our 450 students (we add a grade level per year) fully 150 selected Aquarium Science as their first choice of elective. Not a bad way to grow the hobby!

The next time I have a couple hours off I will continue this with the actual thread I set out to create tonight. I'll give all the details of our new school building, my new classroom, and what we're doing now. I will introduce our setup and classroom procedures, but I will let my students speak for themselves. Goodnight everyone!
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	first year.jpg
Views:	90
Size:	83.3 KB
ID:	547770  


The Fraternity of Dirt #41
SunSun Pimp #66

"
In the end we will conserve only what we love. We will love only what we understand. We will understand only what we are taught
." Baba Dioum


Triple-filtered Paludarium

Last edited by Method; 11-21-2015 at 05:33 AM. Reason: edited
Method is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-21-2015, 04:52 AM
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: TX
Posts: 430
j03yYunG is online now  
post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-21-2015, 05:02 AM Thread Starter
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
Method's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Annapolis, MD
Posts: 398
Thank you for your comment and THANK YOU for your donation of floaters!

I'll post a couple of pics of the OLD setup tomorrow. I'll follow that this weekend with teaser pics of my huge new classroom and all of the tanks set up in a much more attractive way!

The Fraternity of Dirt #41
SunSun Pimp #66

"
In the end we will conserve only what we love. We will love only what we understand. We will understand only what we are taught
." Baba Dioum


Triple-filtered Paludarium

Last edited by Method; 11-21-2015 at 05:04 AM. Reason: edited
Method is offline  
post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-21-2015, 05:21 AM
Algae Grower
 
cube860's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: newington, connecticut
Posts: 62
This is the coolest thing every, I'm jealous of your middle schoolers
cube860 is offline  
post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-21-2015, 02:04 PM
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: TX
Posts: 430
Quote:
Originally Posted by Method View Post
Thank you for your comment and THANK YOU for your donation of floaters!

I'll post a couple of pics of the OLD setup tomorrow. I'll follow that this weekend with teaser pics of my huge new classroom and all of the tanks set up in a much more attractive way!
Np, I wish I could have all those tanks at my place. :0
j03yYunG is online now  
post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-21-2015, 10:59 PM Thread Starter
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
Method's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Annapolis, MD
Posts: 398
Last year I started the policy of only giving students those materials and organisms they proved to be experts on. For instance, if they wanted hardscape materials then each group member had to turn in an original research report about the relative pros and cons of rocks, wood, and artificial hardscape in addition to a discussion of the proper way to safely add unknown rocks or wild driftwood to a tank.

Some groups were more diligent than others. Several had 7-10 different species of plants, a couple species of fish, various snails, and some nice hardscape items. Others had less. Even by the end of the year we still hadn't filled our tanks to meet anyone's definition of 'heavily planted.'

I don't know what happened to all my pictures. Here are a few from early in the spring semester last year. Just cell phone pics. Please ignore the rats' nest of wiring behind the tanks...
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	First year 3.jpg
Views:	67
Size:	84.6 KB
ID:	548178  

Click image for larger version

Name:	First year 2.jpg
Views:	64
Size:	78.2 KB
ID:	548186  

Click image for larger version

Name:	first year 1.jpg
Views:	58
Size:	85.5 KB
ID:	548194  


The Fraternity of Dirt #41
SunSun Pimp #66

"
In the end we will conserve only what we love. We will love only what we understand. We will understand only what we are taught
." Baba Dioum


Triple-filtered Paludarium
Method is offline  
post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-22-2015, 11:24 PM Thread Starter
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
Method's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Annapolis, MD
Posts: 398
So now for this year!

We moved to a new school in August. Our parent foundation bought and renovated an old MASSIVE mattress warehouse (I know, right?). My new classroom is HUGE compared to last year. I planned to put tables along the left wall and the back wall to put tanks. We had a bunch of 6 foot tables in storage; each can hold 2-3 10 gallon tanks depending on how close you cram them in. I appropriated seven of them. The best part is that there's a sink on the left wall and a drain right under the safety shower. How many science lab drains are used primarily for aquarium water? I wonder...
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	01 my class before.jpg
Views:	64
Size:	80.2 KB
ID:	548761  

doggo likes this.

The Fraternity of Dirt #41
SunSun Pimp #66

"
In the end we will conserve only what we love. We will love only what we understand. We will understand only what we are taught
." Baba Dioum


Triple-filtered Paludarium

Last edited by Method; 11-22-2015 at 11:27 PM. Reason: added text
Method is offline  
post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-23-2015, 03:35 AM Thread Starter
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
Method's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Annapolis, MD
Posts: 398
One of my first assignments was for the students to create a document with everything they currently knew about keeping fish. One young lady was having trouble with her computer, so she wrote in her composition book instead. She had dedicated one of her composition books to our class! I immediately knew that she would do quite well in this class....
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	what i know about fish.jpg
Views:	55
Size:	52.9 KB
ID:	549001  

Daisy Mae likes this.

The Fraternity of Dirt #41
SunSun Pimp #66

"
In the end we will conserve only what we love. We will love only what we understand. We will understand only what we are taught
." Baba Dioum


Triple-filtered Paludarium
Method is offline  
post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-23-2015, 03:41 AM
Algae Grower
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Pine island MN
Posts: 53
If all classes where like this i would have done much better in school =)
Method likes this.
xFaKx is offline  
post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-23-2015, 04:13 AM Thread Starter
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
Method's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Annapolis, MD
Posts: 398
Quote:
Originally Posted by xFaKx View Post
If all classes where like this i would have done much better in school =)
Thank you! I'm sure you did fine.

We try to make all of our classes hands-on and inquiry-based nowadays! Our school in particular is very heavy into technology, inquiry, and student-driven lessons. All of our students have access to a laptop in every classroom. Most of their assignments are done online.

My class is *called* "Aquarium Science", but a lot of the work the students do is part of a crash course on how to do efficient online research using good search queries and utilizing multiple reputable sources. My kids quickly learn that copying and pasting from the first source they find just isn't good enough. The skills of corroboration and verification will hopefully stick with them.

The Fraternity of Dirt #41
SunSun Pimp #66

"
In the end we will conserve only what we love. We will love only what we understand. We will understand only what we are taught
." Baba Dioum


Triple-filtered Paludarium
Method is offline  
post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-30-2015, 04:11 AM
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
Raith's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Edison, New Jersey
Posts: 681
This is absolutely great. It is amazing, great job!

RAOK CLUB #0
Raith is offline  
post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-30-2015, 04:17 AM
Algae Grower
 
bt7896's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Oregon
Posts: 51
I am very impressed, and JEALOUS that would have been so fun. Great Job!!! and Keep it up!!

60 G HighTech Custom Wall Tank (Planted)
55 G Low Tech Discus Tank (Planted)
40 G Low Tech Community Tank (Planted)
7 G Low Tech Nano Tank (Planted)
bt7896 is online now  
post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-03-2015, 08:35 PM
Planted Shrimp Nut
 
Oceangirl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Florida
Posts: 1,378
OMG! It looks so good! I think I saw the wood I donated somewhere in the pictures. GREAT! YEA!! I am so glad to help!! So great!
Oceangirl is offline  
post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-03-2015, 08:51 PM
Algae Grower
 
Ziggy953's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Owings Mills, Maryland
Posts: 44
This is OUTSTANDING!

I am always thrilled to see threads like this! A good friend of mine from another site, his mother is a teacher and did something similar. At the time I was in the Marine world of the hobby and I was able to provide tons of coral frags to her class for their project.

I wish more teachers would do things like this!

Great job! My hat is off to you for your efforts in leading and teaching a new generation to love this hobby!
Ziggy953 is offline  
post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-04-2015, 01:31 AM Thread Starter
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
Method's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Annapolis, MD
Posts: 398
Thanks everybody! Another update coming this weekend. Student pages will start soon!

The Fraternity of Dirt #41
SunSun Pimp #66

"
In the end we will conserve only what we love. We will love only what we understand. We will understand only what we are taught
." Baba Dioum


Triple-filtered Paludarium
Method is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the The Planted Tank Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in









Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome