“Won’t it be fantastic when my students and I…? ” the reflective teacher wondered to himself and asked of others.


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; created by an adventurous aquatic ecosystem minded STEAM/STEM educator for like-minded fellow educators and their students. 

As this curricular vision first took shape in my mind 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). As it took shape, 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, and infuse each activity with the most recent next generation science, common core, engineering & technology standards.

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 was offered through Indiegogo.com. Potential donors who might have been interested in donating twenty dollars – or more – to this campaign were invited to view my Indiegogo crowdfunding site by using the link given here: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/beyond-the-classroom-aquarium-educator-pd-workshop#/ .

Unfortunately this fundraising campaign has now expired – without raising it’s stated financial goal.

For MUCH more information (about the curriculum, the projects, and me), please follow this Beyond the Classroom Aquarium page link (and the additional posts embedded in it). And as always, your comments/input about #BtheCA content, availability, and price are always welcome 🙂 or visit this Beyond the Classroom Aquarium CreateSpace eStore Link .This page may be on “retired” status after Dec. 31, 2016.

Sharing A fun link here:  http://unctv.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/ates12.pd.grbeyond/moving-beyond-the-classroom/

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