ABOVE: My students, taking turns drilling holes into a 7 gallon bucket that will become part of our filtration unit.
Today in Marine Science class, we are finally, FINALLY, moving forward with our recirculating aquaculture project.
Last year, I wrote a little grant to buy a 600 gallon livestock tank for this purpose, but oil prices shot through the roof and plastic prices followed.
Suddenly, my carefully researched tank prices were no longer accurate and I had to scale back to a 300 gallon tank.
Flexibility is important in the public school system, so I flexed.
Then, the economy tanked and the teeny, tiny school budget became microscopic.
Lucky for me, I had begun purchasing some big ticket items like the powerful air pump ($170) a few years ago with this project in mind.
Also, lucky for me, I have a lot of background recirculating aquaculture knowledge from my own nerdy obsession with the topic, so I can guide the kids in improvising the rest of our system.
ABOVE: Girl scientist/engineers devising a framework to hold netting. The netting will keep fish in and paperballs out ... sigh.
There were several tasks to do. One task was building the framework shown in progress above. To start with, I asked the class, "Okay, who knows how to use PVC pipe cutters?"
A few hands went up.
"I don't want you. You do something else."
" I want people who have never worked with PVC before, so they can learn."
At that point, the group of girls in the photo above jumped up. We had a quick PVC lesson and off they went, designing and implementing.
They would have gotten farther along in the implementation part of their task if their teacher, leader, all-knowing sage, had grabbed the right box of PVC connectors from his barn.
"Hey Mr. FC these are too big." Jessica is sliding the half inch PVC pipe completely through the three quarter inch T-fitting from my box of plumbing supplies.
"Oops ... um, sorry girls, I grabbed the 3/4 inch box not the 1/2 inch box off the shelf this morning."
Knowing looks. Hands on hips.
"I'll bring the right stuff Monday, I promise."
They shake their heads and continue measuring and cutting.
Life is good in Marine Science class.