The Coral Reef Project At Stratton Elementary School

Discussion in 'Reef Aquarium Discussion' started by Brandon Rutherford, Jan 26, 2016.

  1. Brandon Rutherford

    Brandon Rutherford Well-Known Member

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    Hello Reef 2 Reef

    My name is Brandon Rutherford and I've created a coral reef project at Stratton Elementary School in Champaign Illinois where I am a third grade teacher. My project creates and maintains aquariums in classrooms around the school. I work during the school day and after school to teach aquarium keeping to students from a variety of grade levels and try to integrate marine biology and aquarium science into as much of my general curriculum as possible.

    My students are avid reef keepers and take our project very seriously. In the following posts I hope to share their story, past and present, and give them a voice in the larger reef community.

    <iframe src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/123160683" width="500" height="281" frameborder="0" webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen></iframe>
    <p><a href="
    ">2015.03.23 - stratton coral reef project</a> from <a href="https://vimeo.com/user38678251">Gregory Pluta</a> on <a href="https://vimeo.com">Vimeo</a>.</p>
     
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  2. dewboy1127

    dewboy1127 Well-Known Member

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    Awesome
     
  3. Brandon Rutherford

    Brandon Rutherford Well-Known Member

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    Here's a few pictures of some of our aquariums.


    [​IMG]

    Our 90 gallon mixed reef in a third grade classroom
     
  4. Brandon Rutherford

    Brandon Rutherford Well-Known Member

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    The 180 gallon tank in my room

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Brandon Rutherford

    Brandon Rutherford Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]

    The 120 gallon tank by main office. Featured are Gene, Elyes and Rohan, some of the more experienced reef keepers.
     
  6. Brandon Rutherford

    Brandon Rutherford Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]

    A new 40 gallon reef set up in another third grade classroom. Mrs. Wilson, the host teacher recently found that her new tank is fully cycled.
     
  7. TD13

    TD13 Well-Known Member

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    AMAZING!!! future of the hobby for sure!
     
  8. dewboy1127

    dewboy1127 Well-Known Member

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    Once again absolutely awesome. ..what great school...props to stratton elementary
     
  9. Brandon Rutherford

    Brandon Rutherford Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for all of the positive feedback. My students will view this thread so feel free to ask them questions as well. There are many more photos on my website and on my reefcentral thread.
     
  10. brandon429

    brandon429 Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    They are all stars of aquarium science tell them brandon429 said hello and welcome to lifelong fun

    Make some minis
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2016
  11. E's gone SPS mad

    E's gone SPS mad Well-Known Member

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    Wow! This is one of the coolest things I have seen in a long time. Mr. Rutherford, you are inspiration to many. My wife is a 1st grade teacher and she is blown as well. Keep up the great work!! Tanks all look good! Great job 3rd grade team!
     
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  12. Brandon Rutherford

    Brandon Rutherford Well-Known Member

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    She might want to consider having a tank :) A kindergarten and first grade classrooms at Stratton have tanks and the kids (and teachers) find them fun and educational.

    I'm involved in educational policy and am a regional director of the Illinois Science Teachers Association. I work with this and other organizations to encourage other teachers to use project based science learning, particularly keeping aquariums in the classroom. She's probably already sold on having an aquarium are but there is precedent for using aquariums as instructional tools. A useful thing to bring up when convincing an administrator to let one be setup in a classroom. The only barrier I find is cost and summer care. My project is supported with a lot of my personal money and coming in everyday over the summer sucks. But it's all worth it.
     
  13. joshkirkland83

    joshkirkland83 Well-Known Member

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    Wow. Those are some of the best looking tanks. Keep up the awesome work.
     
  14. xenia30

    xenia30 Member

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    I want to go back to school just to look at these tanks!
     
  15. Lowstorm

    Lowstorm Well-Known Member

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    Totally fun!!! My 4th grade son is helping me with my tank setup. Kids learn so fast.

    So... what lights you running? I wonder if you could set up test tanks for various things. Various types of lighting, water change schedules, a cool mantis shrimp tank in the principals office
     
  16. Brandon Rutherford

    Brandon Rutherford Well-Known Member

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    Kids do learn fast, faster than adults. One of the reasons they are so interesting to work with.

    I prefer LED lights and all of our big tanks have one model or another. The project is funded by my own salary and donations. I've been lucky with light donations from Kessil, EcoTech and Tunze. My smaller tanks have cheap T5 fixtures I stole from the 5th grade teachers. They're were provided them a while back for a photosynthesis unit but never use them.

    We frequently setup temporary tanks and discuss variations in livestock health and water quality. Because my kids do most of the maintenance, there is a lot of variation that already occurs in our systems (sometimes bad variations). Observing the affects of changes in quality of care makes our tanks a constant experiment though I do step in when needed to make sure tanks don't crash. One of our biggest problems is nutrient exportation because the kids love to feed things. I use GFO, pellet reactors and am setting up refugiums in our largest tanks. I still need to 20% water changes weekly to keep things clean.

    We also had a cool mantis shrimp tank for while until a malfunctioning heater killed it.

    [​IMG]
    Andrew is feeding rotifers to our 30 gallon mantis tank

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    It got pretty big before the end. It's in a 5 gallon bucket if that helps for scale.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2016
  17. ReefFrenzy

    ReefFrenzy Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Gold Sponsor

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    Brandon it is great to see you posting on R2R! I have enjoyed interacting with your students over the past two years via Skype, hand written letters and seeing you guys in person when I come to Chicago. Those kids are so lucky to have you guiding and introducing them to the SW hobby. LRS is proud to sponsor the Stratton Elementary Coral Reef Project year after year.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2016
  18. Sabellafella

    Sabellafella Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Build Thread Contributor

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    Wow this is amazing, and yess you and your staff/students should not hesitate to post and ask questions. Thanks for sharing (i knew i seen lrs teeshirts on them lol)
     
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  19. tristanfish

    tristanfish IG- Brooklynchemisttheory R2R Supporter Photo of the Month Award

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    Love it
     
  20. Brandon Rutherford

    Brandon Rutherford Well-Known Member

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