KIDS: TIC Polk Elementary School 2010-2011

{Spotlight Page Header} In the Spotlight
{Picture of the Front of Polk Elementary School}         {Trout Unlimited Logo}  
Polk Elementary School in Oakville, CT, Home of the Huskys,  has joined the rapidly growing list of Connecticut schools that are participating in the Trouth in the Classroom project sponsored by the eight local Connecticut Trout Unlimited Chapters. Fifth Grade Teacher Mrs. Jessica Sarandrea, her Classroom Aide Sue Petrok, and her 27 students will be tending to 200 brown trout eggs, watching them hatch into trout fry, and then helping them grow into fish that will be big enough to release into a nearby trout stream. By participating in this program, the students will be learning all about the development of trout from the egg stage as well as accepting responsibility for their feeding and care. Guiding them in this project will be the local TIC Coordinator from the Naugatuck Pomperaug Chapter, Al Concilio, assisted by Dom Falcone, a TU member who happens to live within walking distance of the school.
{Picture of Classroom Teacher and School Principal}
Classroom Teacher Mrs. Jessica Sarandrea and School Principal Ms. Emily Judd
ConneCT Kids has received permission from the Polk Elementary School Administration and Mrs. Sarandrea to follow this project all the way from the delivery of the equipment to the release (hopefully) of the trout fry in the Spring of 2011. Raising a batch of brown trout in an elementary school classroom is not an easy thing to accomplish. In any artificial environment like this, there are many things that could happen to the eggs and the fry including disease, fungal infections, water problems and equipment failure. Mrs. Sarandrea and her students are not biologists or trained aquaculture experts. They are novices who are willing to take on a serious responsibility to gain a great learning experience. ConneCT Kids will let you be there with them at each major step in the process. Let's begin!
Tasks to be performed by either the students or the TU Coordinators.
  • Clean out the aquarium of any loose materials that may be present like loose packing material etc.
  • Insulate all sides of the aquarium with 1 inch hardboard material,tape all sides together and cut a viewing window for the egg basket.
  • Assemble the egg basket, filter, and air stone and place them in position,once the aquarium is filled with water; this can be done prior to filling it with water if desired.
  • Unpack and position the chiller where it best fits in the aquarium. This is a two person job. If the chiller is lifted out of the box by the chiller coil damage can occur to render it unusable!
  • That's it for the install. Once the eggs arrive then the fun begins and the science starts.
Egg Delivery Day - November 17, 2010
  • TIC Coordinators meet in Cheshire to pick up eggs for all schools
  • 200 eggs are delivered to Polk School
  • Students have kept the tank covered and ready for the eggs to arrive
  • Students get a chance to look at the eggs
  • Students help check and balance the water temperature in the egg container
  • Students place the eggs in the egg basket
The Trout are Hatching
  • They will not all hatch at exactly the same time
  • Most trout will hatch within 2-3 days of first egg hatching
  • Some eggs will not hatch properly.
  • Alevin may not come all the way out of the egg
  • Any leftover eggs must be removed (or at least isolated—these likely will not hatch)
  • The leftover shells float to the top of the tank or in the basket
  • The trout are now Sack-Fry
Moving to the Big Tank
  • The fry will consume their egg sacks in 1 to 3 weeks
  • They will then pass through the Swin-Up stage where they begin to look for food
  • The Swim-Up stage will last for a week or less
  • The egg basket will now be too crowed for the trout fry, and they will be moved to the big tank
Feeding the Trout Fry
  • The fry are now in the big tank and separate into groups depending on their individual development
  • Smaller fry tend to stay near the bottom, while faster developers swim up near the top
  • Students must be careful not to feed too much food
  • Students must monitor the tank for problems and remove any dead fry
  • Most of the fry have developed Parr Marks  - vertical marks on the sides of the fry - which they will have until they are released -  they are called Parr Fry
Release Day - May 5, 2011
  • The trout fry are taken out of the tank and placed in an aireated holding bucket
  • The students are ready with lunches to board the bus
  • The trout are being released into Branch Brook in the Black Rock State Park
  • TU Coordinators explain the process to the students and set up the release site
  • Each student gets to release a trout fry
  • The TU Coordinators demonstrate the process of capturing invertibrates (stream insects eaten by trout)
  • After a wrap-up session, the student board the bus for the ride back to school.
Would you like to read comments by the students about their Trout in the Classroom experience? You will find them in our Polk TIC Student Journal
Read how our teacher feels about this project and some of the challanges she must face. Polk TIC Teacher Journal
View student art inspired by the Trout in the Classroom Project on the Student Art Page.
The trout fry that were raised so carefully by Mrs. Sarandrea's Fifth Grade Class of 2010-2011 have been released and thoughts are now turning to another Trout in the Classroom Project next year. By any standard, this was a highly successful project and a positive learning experience for everyone involved. Any teachers or administrators who might be considering participating in a TIC project are invited to read through the Student Journal entries to see the quality of learning and maturity gained by this one class through their interaction with these trout fry, and the level of responsibility and involvement that a few trout eggs can foster in young students. If this is not the very essence of education, we are not certain what is.
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Content Last Modified on 11/28/2011 1:41:29 PM