Eastern Mennonite School emphasizes hands-on learning, even when it involves slippery, slimy creatures.
As part of our sixth graders’ year-long study of the life cycle of our area trout population, the class visited Reed’s Creek Fish Hatchery in Franklin, West Virginia, in September. Some students enjoyed the “hands on” part of the trip more than others. Everyone got a first-hand look at the science and business of fish farming.
“The hatchery provides an exceptional hands-on learning experience regarding the biology and the importance of trout in our local area,” says teacher Susan Melendez, who led the trip with Larry Martin, another sixth grade teacher.
The two have taken the trip each of the last nine years that Melendez has taught here. This year, each student had the opportunity to don an apron and help the fish spawn by squeezing eggs out of brown trout.
Learning about trout and area stream health is integrated throughout the year. Students raise trout in the classroom to learn about their habitat and life cycle.
During middle school Explore Week in the spring, students will continue the study through various hands-on experiences in area streams, ponds and lakes. “The fish hatchery is a key piece of helping students make connections and enriching students’ understanding of our natural world,” says Mrs. Melendez.
It’s also key to helping students understand the significance of trout in our area’s ecosystem and economy.