Warsaw Area Career Center senior Matt Jagger (front, kneeling) was one of the students in the biotechnical engineering course that released trout into a private pond Monday with Washington STEM Academy fourth-graders. The WACC students raised the trout since January and then taught the elementary students about the fish. The release was the culmination of the unit. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union
Warsaw Area Career Center senior Matt Jagger (front, kneeling) was one of the students in the biotechnical engineering course that released trout into a private pond Monday with Washington STEM Academy fourth-graders. The WACC students raised the trout since January and then taught the elementary students about the fish. The release was the culmination of the unit. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union
After raising trout for about half a year, Warsaw Area Career Center students in Abbi Richcreek’s biotechnical engineering course released the fish into a private pond Monday afternoon.
Washington STEM Academy fourth-graders assisted with the trout release.
Richcreek said they raised the fish until they were the proper size, about 3 to 4 inches long. Her students took care of them since January.
“I got them from a hatchery in Mishawaka,” she said. “This is the second year we’ve done this. It’s the whole process of taking care of the trout for the class. It’s part of their responsibility for the class. They also have to take care of the water and the nitrate levels of the water and learning about the appropriate conditions.”
The high school students had to take what they learned and then teach the Washington fourth-graders. The lesson plans had to meet the life science standards. The Washington students also toured the high school’s facilities where they kept the trout.
“They were our partner in this endeavor. It taught my students how to teach younger students and about standards,” Richcreek said.
Gary Hawblitzel, Washington teacher, said one of the main units the fourth-graders worked on this year was the ecosystem. As part of the unit, students had to make their own self-sustaining ecosystem.
“Everything we were learning about got us to where we could work with the high school and what they were learning and then they could teach our kids,” he said. Releasing the trout was a great culminating activity for both groups of students, he said.
The trout experience taught the students a lot, according to at least one of the high school students.
Senior Kyle Wettschurack said, “I think it’s how certain animals are very specifically adapted to the environment they live in. If the right conditions aren’t met, they will die.”
As for raising the trout, he said, “It’s not really too hard as long as you have the proper equipment and as long as you’re attentive to them.”
Working with the fourth-graders was really fun, he said. “It’s neat to see how much the kids enjoy the experience. They’re more informed about stuff like this than I was at their age. I think they were entertained by it all.”