There's something fishy going on in Lori Tureson's second-grade classroom at Fritsch Elementary School. Tasmanian rainbow trout, to be exact.
"What's so special about this is that we're the only second-grade class in Carson City that's doing this," said Joel Hines, 8. "It's good for the environment because we're repopulating the river."
As part of the Fish in the Classroom program, run in conjunction with The Department of Wildlife, students oversee the development of about 250 eggs into adulthood. Once they mature, they will be released into the Carson River around the end of March.
"You get to learn more things and you can watch them grow," said Devon Mitchell, 8. "You can see the stages they go through. It's the life cycle."
Each student is keeping a Trout Journal to document the changes in the school of fish.
"We always have to look inside the tank and draw pictures and write about it," explained Nicole Vairo, 7.
Nicole's entry to describe the first stage reads: "I see big rocks, bubbles, pebbles and eggs. The eggs look like dipping dots."
The eggs hatched into yolk sacs, or alevins, last week.
"When they hatched, they look like spaghetti with a lump," 7-year-old Avery Whitt wrote in her journal.
Raising the fish in the classroom complements Tureson's science curriculum, which includes several trips to the river to observe and document data about the habitat.
"To me, learning about science is being able to touch it and feel it and see it and not just look at it in a textbook," Tureson said. "When they can witness the changing of the stages, they really learn it. That's the kind of learning that stays with them for a lifetime."
And by learning about living organisms in the river, Tureson said, they learn to respect all life.
Just that afternoon, the students found an ant on the floor. Instead of killing it, they collected it to turn it free outside, despite obstacles.
"It crawled in my shirt," said Joseph Tran, 7, as he double-checked up his sleeve.
But, in the end, it was worth it.
"We didn't want to kill it because it's part of our environment," said Sam Bruketta, 7.
Contact Teri Vance at email@example.com or at 881-1272.