The Coral Reef Project At Stratton Elementary School

Brandon Rutherford

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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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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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Brandon Rutherford

Brandon Rutherford

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My wife is a 1st grade teacher and she is blown as well.
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.
 

Lowstorm

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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
 
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Brandon Rutherford

Brandon Rutherford

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  1. 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
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.


Andrew is feeding rotifers to our 30 gallon mantis tank



It got pretty big before the end. It's in a 5 gallon bucket if that helps for scale.
 
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ReefFrenzy

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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.
 
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Sabellafella

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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>
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)
 

tristanfish

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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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