Monday, July 20, 2015

Crayfish vs Miss Stetson

Crayfish in the classroom

We had crayfish a few months ago in my classroom. I am just now getting to blog about it because I finally sat down to. While we had the crayfish, I was finishing up the final details of out wedding. So let me tell you a tale about 12 little crayfish that lived in Miss Stetson’s Classroom.

The journey of the 12 crayfish all began sometime in March. Now in Rhode Island March had to be the month that I could not see out of my window due to a large amount of snow. These little guys were already late arriving due to the cold weather. I guess you can’t ship them if there is a ton of snow, but regardless it was on our end of trimester unit, so they were coming no matter what.

Looking outside of our classroom window.
We had to grow plants with this unit as well. 

My backyard. Just a visual of the amount of snow!

The kids knew that we were getting crayfish. Many of them had older siblings, so there was not much surprise with the unit, so when the box arrived, I had 2 opposite reactions.  I had kids jumping for joy and kids who could care less that we had an animal. I placed them on top of the fish tank to acclimate to the new water.

I chose to use a fish tank so that the kids could see the crayfish easier (we will get to that in a moment). I figured that it would keep the water filtered. I wouldn’t have to change the water all the time, plus my neighbor did it so why shouldn’t I.  I was so excited to have crayfish in my room since we are not able to have class pets.

As the little guys were sitting waiting to enter their new habitat we came up with rules about handling these living creatures. We created a list of things not to do. I have some silly friends, so the rules were a little silly but necessary. We all know who in our class need the specific do’s and do not’s.   I also had a few pictures of crayfish since I was from the south.

They were all about an inch long and very active. 

They were all getting along now. 

I showed the students a picture of what not to do with the crayfish. Growing up in the south we ate them. So during the entire unit my kids would tell me at the end of the day not to eat the crayfish. I explained we didn’t have enough to fill my belly. I also showed them pictures of how not to handle. Me being the worst example showed them a picture of one hanging from my ear. I told them how much it hurt and not to do it. We discussed that they were living creatures so we had to be gentle with them and had to handle them with care when conducting experiments. Then it was time to release the crayfish into their new habitats.

As teachers, we often turn blue in the face-teaching children to read carefully, yet we are often guilty of not reading everything because we are in a hurry. I thought for one minute that I only ordered the food because I could not see the crawfish. I was wrong these babies were the size of small shrimp! How in the world was I going to have the kids learn about them if they are that small?

None of the four classes had any crayfish that were large enough to conduct any experiment, so I to find many YouTube videos. I was nervous catching them because they were so small, but the kids watched them daily and noticed them shedding their outer shell.

It was a tragic cold Wednesday morning in Miss Stetson's Classroom. It was a cold day, and the night before a certain teacher whose mind was elsewhere forgot to plug the filter back in. Needless to say, it wasn’t until kids arrived at school and where placing their lunch order that they noticed the circle of life occurring in the fish tank. Yes, crayfish will eat one another. We already discussed this in class, but I was mortified I was the reason some had passed away so they could become the buffet to others. At that point, I was already down to 8, and now there were 4.

Very full from eating his friends. Helpful Hint: Do not
unplug the fish tank friends!

WE placed a beautiful cloth around the tank until I could fix the issue. I cleaned the tank, and we went on with our day. Two days later there were 3. I guess crayfish are not like gerbils. You might need to read what they eat. I guess carrots were not a favorite.

I finally got to the point that I needed just to give the remaining three away.  My neighbor had a few until the end of the year. I have the worst luck with excellent intentions keeping animals in my room.

Kiddos are taking notes while observing the tiny crayfish.

The kids loved having the crayfish and would check on the ever so often in the other teacher’s room. Next year if I had them again I would do a few things differently, but I know what not to do when raising crayfish.  

Miss Stetson


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