Exploring their ecosystem

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 5, 2010

Is it a strange concept for a snake to be found in a parking lot during the winter?

Maybe or maybe not, but after one more day of science class, fifth graders at Andalusia Elementary School will know the answer.

Students in Deb Hughes’ science classes are experimenting to see how the temperatures change in different locations on the school’s campus in order to figure out why the snake might have chosen the pavement.

“They are checking different temperatures in the grass, bushes and asphalt,” Hughes said. “They are learning how to take accurate temperatures.”

Hughes said the students are recording data in a three-day period, that started on Tuesday.

On the final day, Hughes said, the students will plot their findings on a graph and then compare it to the other students’ data in the class.

AES fifth grader Caleb Evers said Wednesday was a lot warmer than last Tuesday when the class did their first series of measurements.

“So far, I’ve learned how the temperature changes over time,” Evers said.

Hughes said she challenged the students to think in degrees of Celsius rather than Fahrenheit.

If the outside measurements wasn’t fun enough for the students, Hughes also had the students working on an eco-column.

Hughes said the project incorporates both tertiary and aquatic environments.

“We’ve been learning about this plant that we put under water and other plants and roly polies,” said Daniel Shirey, a fifth grader. “Duckweeds can multiply if you put lots in. It can make a whole lot. I have also learned that mosquito fish can live in all types of water.”

AES fifth grader Austin Scott said he likes that he gets to keep the fish.

“I’ve learned that the fish like to fight,” Scott said.

“I also thought the roots were brown, but I’ve learned they are white and fuzzy. We also don’t know what happened to our roly polies.”

Keanna Tennyson said she hopes to find out today if her crickets have burrowed or if one of her snails is pregnant.

“I’ve also learned that my fish are eating all of my duckweed,” she said.

Hughes said she hopes that through the observations the students make each day they will find something different such as how the plants or crickets need water or if the snails have changed locations.

The students have to write down their observations and have four more opportunities to see how the plants and animals interact in the ecosystem.

“We will finish the project in two weeks,” Hughes said.