Students Raise Marine Life in Science Classes

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Students observe their ecosystem, documenting how it represents pond life.

Each fall, Robinson seventh grade science classes build model ecosystems. They raise marine life to model the Chesapeake Bay and local watersheds.

In late September, students began slowly adding to their tanks. First, they filled the tanks with the water and washed gravel. They let it sit for one week to make sure the water wasn’t as purified as the ecosystem they came from. This relaxes the organisms so they don’t have as much stress on their bodies.

“We are learning about the Chesapeake Bay and it is fun,” said Va’Shon M.

After letting the water sit, students added the plants to the tank. They have added anacharis, duckweed, moneywort, savinia, and purple waffle plants. This makes it more like a pond ecosystem.

“My model ecosystem has been really cool to watch, but sometimes it’s scary watching them fight or eat each other,” said Riley G.

Next comes the organisms themselves. The students added in guppies and snails first. They then added in mollies and crayfish. Last, but not least, spirogyra (algae) and daphnia magna were added.

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Students measure the pH and nitrite level using the drop kits.

During each class, students measure the dissolved oxygen (how much air has been dissolved in the water), temperature (℃), and the conductivity of the water using the labquest probes in their classrooms. Then, they measure the pH and nitrite level using the drop kits.

For six-eight weeks students will observe the ecosystems, documenting how they represent pond life and to see what happens in the Chesapeake Bay. All seventh graders will go on a field trip to a local watershed the week of October 24 to further their study of this ecosystem.

“I am very excited for the field trip. Our model ecosystems are interesting and a fun class assignment,” said Emily Wamblocht.

In late November, students will be finished with their ecosystems and be well educated on how the Bay “operates.” They will know the problems of the bay, and they will understand how to make a change.