The children have been eagerly waiting for our water to cycle in the saltwater tank so that they can add other animals in the tank. They have been testing the water everyday, and now they are beginning to understand the concept of the Nitrogen Cycle. Yes, this is a complicated subject for children this age, but allowing them to see it with their own eyes and be a part of the process is allowing them to start understanding bits and pieces of it.
The tank has been filling up with algae and the ammonia is reducing, so it was time for us to bring in the “Clean Up Crew”. The clean up crew is considered to be the janitors of the tank. They feed on the algae, non-living organic matter, and sift through the sand.
The children signed up for the specimen they wanted to purchase, and brought their money to the fish store. We talked to Mr. Q about what we could put in our tank. He said we were ready for snails, crabs, and shrimp. The starfish could not go in the tank yet, so instead the children who signed up to buy a starfish picked out the ones they wanted and Mr. Q said he would deliver them when the water was right.
The children lined up behind the cash register and told the cashier what animal they wanted to purchase. This was a good opportunity for us to have a REAL purchasing experience. They listened to what the cost was, and then had to use their math skills to complete the purchase.
We believe in providing the children with these types of hands on opportunities. This allows them to be part of the process, and learn by seeing these processes with their own eyes. The marine life investigation is a much more dynamic learning experience for them due to the fact that they are learning hands on.
Some of the topics they are able to learn so far are:
- The food chain
- characteristics of each species
- introduction to chemistry
- learning new terms (ammonia, nitrogen cycle)
- counting money
- responsible for caring for living things