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Thanks for all the great ideas! My students will know more about fish than
they ever wanted to know!!
Update: the water, gravel, plants, light, and filter are in place and
gurgling along nicely. The tank sat empty for 2 weeks to let the water
filter completely. Kindergarten kids pressed their noses against the glass
getting all excited about the fish they could "see!" People come in to see
me and they linger a little longer by the tank just staring into it
(students, teachers, and parents!). I have gotten so many positive comments
about it -- I can't wait to see what happens when our little friends move in
to stay next week.
Many 'netters asked me to let them know how it's going so I'll post a note
to the group when there's some news to report. Thanks again to all who gave
the following suggestions!
Have you checked with http://www.tetra-fish.com
I talked with them at a NSTA meeting last year.  They have teacher's
guides, etc. to help you and a way to build a virtual aquarium on-line.
(I did go there and printed some of their lesson plans. Fun site! ssg)
Just wanted to say that this sounds like a wonderful project and may even
help some kids who can't have "high maintenance pets"  learn how much fun an
aquarium can be.  My daughter has a project where the kids turn a paper
plate into an aquarium and do math problems with Goldfish crackers.  They
decorate the "aquarium" appropriately, write a math problem and use goldfish
to illustrate it.  She covers the finished project with blue plastic wrap.
Maybe you could adapt that idea to illustrating Rainbow Fish or a similar
book with k and 1.
How about Cousteau information, books, videos, etc... or great white shark
materials, or manta rays, etc...or look into mollusks (shells) like
Nautilus, Cone, Murex, etc. (Along those lines I am planning a newspaper
activity that will ask students to find articles about fish, water, ecology,
etc. to get an idea of what current events involve these things. ssg)
Why not ask the kids what they would like to find out about the fish.  Some
starters for your discussion could be
* how do we keep our fish healthy?
* do our fish sleep at night?
* why don't our fish sink?
* what other sorts of creatures would be happy in the tank with our fish?
* will we get baby fish?
* why are they fish?
* does a fish live longer than a person?
* how can fish breathe underwater?
I have a large tank in my resource centre and it is a source of endless
fascination to the children, as well as having a very calming influence.
I, of course, immediately thought of all the art (illustrator) connections.
Big colorful fish hanging from the ceiling--maybe ala Eric Carle even though
I don't think he's done a fish book.  My favorite is Swimmy.  In Leo
Lionni's video he demonstrates how he make the water background by painting
on glass and then putting down the paper and pulling it up and letting it
drip.  I've done this many times and it's always fun.  Another Leo Lionni
book is Fish is Fish.
Great idea!  Have students design their own fish for the bulletin board.
Make them 3D by stuffing them with paper.  Gather all the reading books
about fish, fishing, endangered fish, etc. and place them in a prominent
place.  Make another bulletin board with a child or 2 fishing.  At the end
of their lines are hooked books.  You could call it hooked on Books.  Have a
contest to see how many books can reel in (read) in a certain period of
time.  Have the classes design books about fish, write stories to read to
the Kindergarten.  You could have all the students involved.  Good Luck and
Happy Fishing!
I love aquariums and used to have a 29 gallon one in my media center. I ran
into problems with the cleaning and making it safe for the fish. The one
thing I had in mine that the kids loved was a soapbox crab. They were so
interested in it, they named it, and everything. You are a lot more on the
ball then I was because I didn't think of doing any of the things you are
which are great! How are you going to keep it clean and managed right? (It
is being professionally maintained for the first year then my assistant, my
students, and I will take over! ssg) Let me know how it is going, I might
consider getting me another one.
... this aquarium project sounds like it would be great to have written up
for the Big6 online newsletter. You probably know that the print version has
been discontinued but Mike is working hard on getting an online version
going in January.

Susan Grigsby, LMS
The Epstein School, Atlanta Georgia

What is hateful to you, do not to another: this is the whole Torah, the rest
is commentary.  Hillel.

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