- 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.”

CONNECT

Brine Shrimp in the Classroom

Inquiry Science

- Sponsorship -
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese is associate managing editor and reporter, covering Byron Center, Kentwood, Wyoming and Grand Rapids Community College. She was one of the original SNN staff writers, helping launch the site in 2013 and enjoys fulfilling the mission of sharing the stories of public education. She 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, On-the-Town Magazine and Group Tour Media. Read Erin's full bio

LATEST ARTICLES

District’s newest school is a winner in green design

Southwest Middle High School - Academia Bilingue is a state-of-the-art, $20 million project that has earned LEED silver certification...

State still pushing for federal waiver of M-STEP this spring

A Jan. 25 request from the Michigan Department of Education to the U.S. Department of Education to not administer standardized testing, including the M-STEPS, in spring 2021 is still on the table...

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles

- Sponsorship -

Issues in Education

Districts on the hunt for 3,000 missing students

School leaders have been working to find students who didn’t show up in the fall, make sure they’re being educated and maybe even persuade them to return...

SNN Editorial

Gauging the fallout from the pandemic on learning

While parents and educators use assessments to determine many kinds of student learning, a local researcher urges caution with testing from the pandemic year...
- Sponsorship -

MEDIA PARTNERS

Maranda Where You LiveWGVU

SUSTAINING SPONSORS