Fifth graders go fishing at local pond

As part of a service learning and science project the fifth graders at Sweet Elementary school are catching fish at the pond in the Wayne State Wildlife Park and transferring them to a nearby fishery.

With a fish squirming in her hand Aime, 10 said, "The pond is going to be drained so that the sediment can be cleaned out." We're helping the park service catch the fish and sort them by species so they can be taken to the fish farm where they will stay till the pond is better and filled with water again."

Student after student brought fish to be weighed, measured, identified, and sorted into waiting tanks.

Jess said, "I never touched a real live fish before and didn't even know for sure that there were any in this pond."

Kris added, "Yeah, when Ms. Wynn showed us pictures of different fish that might be in the pond I didn't think they would be here either."

The project is one that has involved the fifth grade students throughout the year in a study of the pond.

Part of their study was to determine the depth of the pond and what kinds of organisms lived in and around the pond.

"This kind of activity helps students use the information that they learn in the classroom in real life situations," said Ms. Wynn. "They studied about the few species of fish that are in the pond and now they get to see them up close and personal. They also can see how measurement is important and get to practice measuring with metric units of mass and length. They also learned about how scientists classify animals by similar characteristics and are using those ideas to sort the fish."

The class will continue to come to the park to record what is in it and how it changes. Particularly the pond as they deepen it, reinforce some of the banks, refill it, and restock the fish.

"Over the long run we are also hoping that students will see that parks and ponds are special places that people have to preserve and maintain," Ms. Wynn said, and with a smile added. "They may even want to go fishing."

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Robert D. Sweetland's Professional Notebook ©