Next session will be on Plants, and I have no idea how I'm going to have them interact/or plant the tank. I think I should do it myself but I want them to own this tank too. Any suggestions would be hugely appreciated.
(And just an FYI, if there are any teachers out there that want a lesson plan for this age group, I wrote one and am perfectly willing to share. Let me know.)
My current lesson plan:
Why do animals need plants?
[food source, O2 source, roots provide structure, wood for houses, etc]
Why do plants need animals? What do plants eat?
[food source, CO2 source, provide mobility]
What are bacteria?
[very small animals]
-some can make you sick
-some help your stomach to break down food so that your blood can use it
-some live in the dirt to help break down mulm and animal poop, which is food to a plant
-can plants go find food? No, food has to be brought to them
Introduce in brief: The Nitrogen Cycle
Animals eats > everyone poops > bacteria eat/break down the poop > bacteria waste = plant food > porous substrate catches nutrients from water column and brings it down into the substrate level for root exchange > plants eat the bacterial waste
Plant Identification [Provide samples to manipulate]
Break into smaller groups
Suggested Equipment: Magnifying glasses, catch tray, water, plates
Ex. (direct observations)
-mosses - java moss, Fissidens, moss balls (surface area, dense hiding, egg nest)
-bladderwort - subwassertang, pellia, riccia (no roots, no stem, no 'leaves')
-epiphytes - java fern, anubias, bolbitis (slow growers, branch growers, thin roots)
-floaters - water lettuce, duckweed, frogbit, pennywort (non-dirt feeder, who eats these?)
-algaes - green spot, black beard, hair, staghorn, cladophora, green fuzz
-root feeders - swords, lily, Sag subulata (large root systems, large plants)
-stem cuttings - hygrophilia, myriophyllum, najas (tall, fast growing, propagation ease)
Small groups can help with plant placement in the tank. Plant the tank.
Fill or spray with water.
Discuss water conditioner: drinking-water contains Chlorine to kill off bacteria that would make us sick. However, this would also kill off the bacteria that the plants need as well as any other animals that need to live in the water. So a water conditioner is added to neutralize the Chlorine and protect the bacteria colonies, as well as the fish, worms, snails, shrimp, etc.
"Heee-eerree fishy fishy fish!" -ernie