As a math (and science) educator – and aquarium hobbyist, I one day found myself staring into an aquarium, wondering if my desire to further my student’s engagement and learning might be effectively promoted through involvement in processes of designing (and assembling & operating) aquatic ecosystems, aquatic ecosystem components, and essential ancillary lab-related equipment. A list (of never done/experienced/shared aquatic ecosystem related activities and materials) appeared almost instantly. Beyond the Classroom Aquarium is the end result of this thinking. My friends, colleagues, and family will affirm that my efforts to fit the aquatic ecosystem themed projects in “the list” into a well-crafted and naturally unfolding curricular sequence was a painstaking labor of love.
I realized “we” (students & I) had never… designed, assembled nor operated an authentic aquatic ecosystem simulation/model (excepting dioramas)! Further, I realized I did not know of one colleague who had ever guided his/her students through such visionary curricular sequences of ‘design and beyond’ processes. We’d never… fabricated components of aquatic ecosystems rather than purchasing “store-bought” ones. We never dreamed of the countless ways that technologies could be woven into day-to-day classroom activities (via aquatic ecosystems). I continued to wonder how financially prohibitive (not to mention time required) it might be? What sacrifices might need to be made? What learning goals/standards might be included? How might all the disparate resources and knowledge I’d need to make this vision a reality be consolidated? AND, Aside from talking about “poop (from organisms in the systems),” what else might my students find engaging in this curricular sequence of aquatic ecosystem themed learning activities?
I pondered these questions through years of direct work with students and multiple years of participation in aquatic-ecosystem-related professional development workshops. I believe many of my STEM/STEAM colleagues will find the curricular sequence of 14 project based STEM-Oriented aquatic ecosystem themed learning activities contained in the book: Beyond the Classroom Aquarium address these questions while pointing out ways to implement such projects in their own settings with their own students.
On October 5th, 2016 I also activated a social media fundraising campaign to enable me to share strategies for implementing Beyond the Classroom Aquarium learning activities with fellow educators in week long professional development workshops. The campaign is offered through Indiegogo.com. Anyone who might be interested in donating twenty dollars – or more – to this campaign may view my Indiegogo crowdfunding site by using the link given here: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/beyond-the-classroom-aquarium-educator-pd-workshop#/ .
If you find this professional development workshop program of interest, will you please share this Indiegogo link with members of your local school district, county or state board of education and university departments of teacher preparation and any other educational funding agency (including non-profits and/or philanthropic agencies) with which you are familiar? Thank you for your kind consideration in this matter.
And for even more information, please follow )and🙂 “LIKE”) the Beyond the Classroom Aquarium page link (and linked posts).