Archive | April, 2013

Kind and Generous Benefactors of Beyond the Classroom Aquarium Project Development and Piloting

23 Apr

Numerous persons have provided equipment, materials, services, and much appreciated advice in my first attempts to share STEM-based aquatic ecosystem projects with my students. Prominent among these early Beyond the Classroom Aquarium supporters have been:

* Sho-Tank Aquariums;¬†Matt Jensen, until recently the proprietor of this business (now residing in Hawaii – ūüôā ) offered ongoing and unparalleled support to me in my efforts to develop #BtheCA (Twitter Hashtag) projects by providing a range of livestock and related equipment at costs that made it possible for students to experience a wide range of aquatic organisms (on my teacher’s salary). In my exhaustive search, I never found a more constant source of support for implementing these ideas. Thanks Matt (Aloha to you & your family)!

* SeaQuest Marine; Donated and set-up in the classroom, a new 55-gallon aquarium and filtration system along with a state-of-the-art reef capable lighting system. When Jim Whitney came to my classroom to help my students & I set up the system he was amazingly warm, caring and enthusiastic towards my students and my vision. Now in Palm Beach I wish him ongoing happiness and success.

* Allen-Bradley and Rockwell Automation; Donated a programmable logic controller to use in developing a prototype plankton culture and collection system for classroom use.

* Grow-Masters; Provided seeds and grow media related to an aquaponics system that students designed and assembled.

* Reef Propagations, Inc.; Donated an aging but active pair of nest-laying clownfish enabling students to participate in efforts to raise larvae.

* National Marine Educators Association (NMEA); Published an account of student experiences in designing and maintaining a 500 gallon aquaponics system.

Although¬†a portion of the curricular activities in Beyond the Classroom Aquarium¬†were developed by large national agencies (supported through tax dollars – and thus generally considered “public domain,” given proper citation etc.), numerous non-governmental agencies, writers,¬†and developers of¬†other educational¬†activities used in Beyond the Classroom Aquarium have generously¬†granted me permission (either directly or via website permissions) to¬†include portions of their copyrighted material in one or more of the projects in the curriculum. Will you please support these people and organizations (in particular)¬†if and when you are in a position to do so?

  • Gerry Marten – Author and Proponent of “Human Ecology” his book by that name is available free online. Relevant information and links are available on his webpage:¬†http://www.gerrymarten.com/human-ecology/tableofcontents.html . Thank you for speaking with me on the phone Gerald – our discussion of your Apo Island experience and related learning materials was deeply appreciated. I appreciate your agreement to allow me to include Apo Island learning materials in Beyond the Classroom Aquarium.
  • Martin A. Moe, Jr.¬† – Marine Biologist, Author of many great books about marine aquariums, and active spokesperson for the Florida Keys Marine Sanctuary. Martin corresponded with me with great understanding and patience. We ultimately identified ways for me to include various text published by Martin in Beyond the Classroom Aquarium. One of his colleagues (Joe) provided me with the first pair of spawning Clown fish that I shared with my students.¬†
  • Brandy Moran – marine science curriculum developer
  • Don Carner – a long-standing proponent of “Do-It-Yourself” aquarium projects. In our correspondence he seemed surprised that I would think to consider including information that he wrote in Beyond the Classroom Aquarium to help students analyze lighting systems they might develop.
  • Alex Brylske – Chief Editor of Dive Training Magazine, college professor (Florida Keys Community College) and inspirational writer about the ocean – magnanimously agreed to allow me to use his writing about experiences with a unique group of coral propagators and their amazing work. I could feel him smiling through his email correspondence with me.
  • Tom Shaw – webmaster holding rights to the Hidden Mickey’s web site content¬†(upon which I¬†based the laminar flow fountain design project in Beyond the Classroom Aquarium).
  • the Aquarium Guys – for presenting a nice page about “is your fish really sick” on their webpage
  • Gary V. Deutschmann – for developing a nice paper about “the History of Hydroponics”
  • Jason Buchheim – director of Odyssey Expeditions and developer of many web pages of fabulous educational pages about the oceans¬†
  • Charles Drewes – He devoted his life to learning about invertebrates and passing this information on to his students and the public – his university web page contains great information about culturing aquatic black worms (among other things)
  • Thanks to Mr. Dick Irish of Wilmington, NC – whom I first met at an Arduino/Raspberry Pi Meetup. He provided me with a MEGA to work with and encouraged my ongoing efforts to develop a prototype laminar flow fountain.

To¬†read more about Beyond the Classroom Aquarium¬†you may¬†click on¬†a link to¬†one of the four¬†bulleted¬†posts below.¬†Each post¬†offers¬†additional information about: the curriculum, the author, the program’s structure/format, and acknowledgement of support others have provided in curriculum¬†development or in piloting of activities with students.

https://www.createspace.com/4888083

Please contact Robert Jakus directly for more information about Beyond the Classroom Aquarium.

To Return to BEYOND the CLASSROOM AQUARIUM ‚Äď HOME¬†click here.

Project Sequence in Beyond the Classroom Aquarium (and related professional development workshop)

15 Apr

In Beyond the Classroom Aquarium, students are guided through a structured sequence of 14 STEM-oriented aquatic ecosystem based activities in which they have opportunities to work on a range of activities that extend across a wide spectrum of complexity ranging between work with the simplest aquatic ecosystems and humblest single celled organisms, to work with highly complex organisms and aquatic ecosystems that utilize many modern technologies (including microcontrollers, stepper motors, motor drivers, circuitry, CAD, and 3-D printing).

In total, the book is 347 pages. Two chapters (the introductory chapter and a concluding chapter with an awesome final assessment activity) are featured to help teachers begin AND end the Beyond the Classroom Aquarium school year successfully.

The sequence of fourteen projects, that comprise the body of Beyond the Classroom Aquarium have been segmented into five chapters according to the natural progression of the educational activities in each successive project. In general, these five chapters are broken down as follows:

  1. Introductory knowledge, decisions, and activities related to upcoming projects involving design, assembly, and investigation of three primary classroom aquatic ecosystems
  2. Projects that guide each student team to complete design, assembly, and operation stages related to one unique classroom aquatic ecosystem (although not required, concurrent coordination of design, assembly and operation stages for each ecosystem/team is intended to result in the operational presence of numerous classroom systems in the shortest time)
  3. Additional team projects involving design, assembly, and application of auxiliary classroom aquatic ecosystem components and technologies
  4. Research project on classroom aquatic ecosystem and/or organism
  5. Implementation of aquatic ecosystem skills and knowledge whereby students are guided to apply such knowledge and skills beyond the classroom. 

Educators who want to use aquatic ecosystems as a medium for integration of instruction in fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, (STEM) and beyond will find Beyond the Classroom Aquarium a useful guide. While beginning with modest classroom aquariums, the compilation of information and project descriptions in this book help teachers guide students to utilize tools of math and technology to design, assemble, and investigate (scaled to fit within their respective classroom space) three unique and fully operational aquatic ecosystems along with a number of auxiliary system components.

Most students who finish project eight are prepared (with adequate knowledge and skills) to design an aquatic ecosystem research project. In project nine they are guided to propose such a project and execute it.

The curriculum is designed so that students become more progressively involved in the design, construction, and/or maintenance of a number of aquatic ecosystems, from the first project Рbeyond. They work and have fun, while learning/applying core skills and concepts (in science, technology, engineering and math) in ecologically authentic aquatic ecosystem contexts, that reinforce development of a genuine sense of environmental stewardship.

Over the years, many educators have used one or more of the unique aquatic ecosystem projects described/compiled in this book as a stand-alone educational activity or project. In Beyond the Classroom Aquarium, the author has seamlessly merged a carefully selected set of heretofore stand-alone aquatic ecosystem themed activities into an integrated STEM-oriented curricular plan.

Please¬†provide your contact information along with your comments AND¬†I will¬†forward¬†a copy Beyond the Classroom Aquarium’s table of contents for you to review – if you request it.

To¬†read more about Beyond the Classroom Aquarium¬†you may¬†click on¬†a link to¬†one of the four¬†bulleted¬†posts below.¬†Each post¬†offers¬†additional information about: the curriculum, the author, the program’s structure/format, and acknowledgement of support others have provided in curriculum¬†development or in piloting of activities with students.

To return to the BEYOND the CLASSROOM AQUARIUM ‚Äď HOME¬† click here.

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