- Sponsorship -

Students Hatch ‘Sea Monkeys’ to Feed Fish in Science Classrooms

Jonathon Haskill peered into the microscope at minuscule eggs as he described how he and his classmates have tested again and again the right salinity and pH levels for those little eggs to hatch into brine shrimp.

In the East Kentwood High School classroom next door, Reagan Olson showed the tiny shrimp after they hatch, early in their life cycle, swimming in a hatchery she and her classmates set up.

“If you look really, really close you can see them swimming around,” Reagan said.

When the shrimp get big enough, Reagan and her classmates in Advanced Placement Environmental Science will move them toa bigger tank and, eventually, on to become fish food.

It’s been a system of trial and error for students monitoring the hatching of the brine shrimp, also known as “sea monkeys,” and charting the results in different conditions like temperature and salinity level. The painstaking process is creating a sustainable way to continue breeding and learning about brine shrimp and fish.

Three classes are working together to create the food supply for neon angel fish, which they also breed in class. Students are learning the creatures have to have conditions just right to proliferate.

Senior Jonathon Haskill focuses on eggs that will hatch into brine shrimp
Senior Jonathon Haskill focuses on eggs that will hatch into brine shrimp

Delicate Balances

“One thing can ruin everything,” said Reagan of how the animals can quickly die if conditions change suddenly.

“It can be frustrating. It brings up a lot of problem-solving,” added Chani Warfield.

The AP classes all are playing different roles in the project: biology students research optimal conditions for the aquatic crustaceans; environmental science learners design the hatchery to continue breeding them; and statistics students make sure the science class members are supporting their conclusions mathematically. Students are also breeding the fish while experimenting with genetics.

The project is an example of open-inquiry science, teacher Chad VanHouten said. Students structure their experiments after several months developing the skills, confidence and knowledge base to do so. They’ve been taught that if an experiment doesn’t work, it doesn’t mean “it’s wrong,” but that it had a different outcome that they expected, VanHouten said.

“It’s really engaging,” said senior Jada Duong. “If something goes wrong, you understand what’s going wrong. Our experiments are based on our own group work. We don’t get specific instructions. We get to do our own thing.”


Brine Shrimp in the Classroom

Inquiry Science

- Sponsorship -
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese has worked as a journalist in the Grand Rapids area since 2000. A graduate of Central Michigan University, she has written for The Grand Rapids Press, Advance Newspapers and On-the-Town Magazine. She has been covering the many exciting facets of K-12 public education for School News Network since 2013. Read Erin's full bio or email Erin.


The year of learning differently

SNN asked a sampling of students from across the county how it’s going for them so far in a school year of multiple instruction models...

‘I want it to look happy’

With help from generous donors, elementary teachers worked to make welcoming, kid-friendly space while following the rules of social distancing and sanitation...

New VP says ‘It feels like joining a family’

Aaron Romoslawski is the new vice principal of Sparta High School. He takes over for Stacey Rumsey, who was named Sparta High School principal last spring...

The changing of guard – as long-time educator and AD welcomes a new one

Godwin Heights Football Coach Brandon Kimble will take over as the district’s athletic director when Robert Hisey, dean of students and athletic director, officially retires Nov. 2...


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles

District welcomes new administrators, ready to ‘lead through uncharted waters’

New administrators share their thoughts on starting their posts during a pandemic...

Districts ponder how to keep students learning, engaged

Teachers are challenged to keep their style of instruction intact with students who are socially distanced and, often, not in the building at all...

Inspired by a young girl’s thoughts

Cora Hovernale won a $200 prize in the art category in a contest hosted by the Holocaust Memorial Center in Farmington Hills...
- Sponsorship -


Engagement: The Most Important Measure of Student Success

Polls find that students’ engagement in their school work declines as they ascend the grades. Tests that don’t relate to their real-life experiences exacerbate the problem...


Food ‘angels’ support hungry kids through pandemic

They work all across Kent County, guardian angels with peanut butter on their hands and crumbs on their shirtsleeves...
- Sponsorship -


Maranda Where You LiveWGVU