This summer via Twitter I learned about a grant, Pets in the Classroom. I've had pets each year I've taught. It started out with fish. Then I added a guinea pig. Then a second fish tank. Then I added a turtle. I've had parents help with materials and supplies with donations but I always spend my own money during the year. As you may know parent help also varies each year. I had a moment that summer day and I am so thankful I went to pursue this grant further. The application is done all online, it really took me 10 to 15 minutes and glancing over my curriculum standards. I hit the submit button and two weeks later I was notified I received a grant and it was $150.00.
Pets can help foster learning in all academic areas. Pets help students learn responsibility. Pets help students feel better. Pets are interesting, fostering wondering. Pets have brought a lot of projects for learning during my years of teaching.
Yesterday my daughter A and I went to a local pet store to purchase fish for each tank and to improve the living quarters for my painted turtle. We learned a lot about caring for my painted turtle to make it better for him. I decided to do the upgrading with my students first thing this morning. We did a water change, removing a little muck. The fish filter I was using had died right before break. Today, Chica (named after the turtle in the book, Nim's Island.) got a new reptile filter. A new, bigger and better climbing "toy" which allows his water to be deeper. This creates a better swimming environment for him. I found it interesting to have the girls take an interest in adding water to Chica's cage. I learned he should have half his tank filled with water. I got everyone involved to help figure out how much half would be. We used unifix cubes and two made equal groups to determine half. We also got reptile serving tongs so I'm not dangling earth worms over a popsicle stick to feed him. These tongs are steel and 12"long. I have no interest in a turtle nibbling my fingers! Enjoy these photos and we will be doing more projects with our pets.