Forget textbooks, fourth grade students at The Boys' Latin School of Maryland are taking a creative approach to their science education.
In partnership with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the nonprofit Children Unlimited, the school is participating in a program that enables fourth grade students to raise trout as part of their science education.
"It's a lot of fun for the boys," said Aaron Sloboda, a science teacher at the school. "The first thing they do when they come to class is check on the trout. Because its an ongoing project, they're invested in it."
The shipment of fertilized trout eggs arrived at Boys' Latin on Jan. 11. Since then, Sloboda's fourth grade science students have been monitoring the now-hatched fish by keeping track of their growth, taking water quality measurements and making other observations.
"I like doing the drops and seeing what color comes out [during water quality testing]," said Jack Fisher, a 10-year-old student.
Justin Kagen, another 10-year old student, echoed Fisher's sentiments.
"It's cool to see the different colors," he said.
Sloboda said the project gives the students the opportunity to study multiple academic disciplines in one setting, including stream ecology and water chemistry. Some of the students are even using the data collected to plot graphs in their math class.
"It makes a lot of sense to them to see the theory being applied in a real life situation," he said.
In April, the students, along with third and fifth graders, will release the trout into the tail-water at Lake Roland as part of an activity day with Park Rangers. This is the third year the school has participated in the project.
"It's hands on, and [the students] are actively learning while having fun," Sloboda said.