Students make aquariums from soda bottles

Posted: April 25, 2016 in Academics, Enrichment, Science
Students in Mrs. Gail McFarland's enrichment class make aquariums from soda bottles, soil, and seeds. The students' objective was to create a livable habitat for a goldfish. From left are seventh graders Frank Sanches, Maya Lindstrom, and Kendra Friederich. (Photo by SeAnna Brennan)

Students in Mrs. Gail McFarland’s enrichment class make aquariums from soda bottles, soil, and seeds. The students’ objective was to create a livable habitat for a goldfish. From left are seventh graders Frank Sanches, Maya Lindstrom, and Kendra Friederich. (Photo by SeAnna Brennan)

By Michael Penge
Cougar News Blog

     Fish are generally considered to be one of the most boring pets on the planet.
     The truth is they can be very exciting, especially when students get to make their own aquarium to house the fish. That’s exactly what Mrs. McFarland’s art class has done.      They’ve created habitats for feeder fish, such as goldfish and guppies, but these fish aren’t going to be fed to anything though, they will be housed in the two-liter soda bottles used as their aquarium.
     “Our bottle biology lab is a very hands on activity that teach my students the exciting world of life science and how ecosystems work together,” said Mrs. McFarland. “We learned about things such as producers, consumers, and how all of them create the environment they live in.”
     Every student had to create their own aquarium and care for each individual feeder fish. The aquarium contained an aquatic plant, so the fish could have oxygen when the plant goes through photosynthesis, which they need to survive. The plants get the nutrients they need from insect eggs, larvae, and minerals. That provides food for the fish as well.
     The fish that were placed in the aquariums were bought at 11 cents each. Students are expected to learn how important biodiversity is in an ecosystem and how energy flows through every being in an ecosystem.
     “My students should be able to understand how a closed system could work on a hostile environment like Mars or Antarctica,” said Mrs. McFarland.
     Mrs. McFarland wants to continue special projects like these because they provide hands-on opportunities and help with problem solving skills.
     “Most of my projects revolve around analyzing and observing instead of the memorization of correct responses,” said Mrs. McFarland. “This encourages cause and effect thinking and to question events that happen during experiments.”

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