Project 1: Fish Friends
The Atlantic Salmon Federation's Fish Friends/Nos amis les poissons is designed to instruct elementary students about the environmental sensitivity and importance to society of freshwater fisheries in eastern North America. Fish Friends is being used in 235 classrooms.
Fish Friends/Nos amis les poissons is a science-based education program that helps students develop observation, measurement and numeracy skills, and to use charts to record and interpret data. A professional developed and field-tested curriculum guide offers instruction about the life cycles of fish, the aquatic environment, and such concepts as bio-diversity, change over time, adaptation, sustainability, and stewardship.
As students absorb these lessons, they care for maturing fish eggs in a classroom aquarium, learn about the right environment for fish, record their observations, watch eggs hatch, and feed the juveniles. At the end of the program, the children take their fish to a stream and release them to the natural environment.
Using a simplified version of the scientific method (predict/observe/explain), students are instructed to describe their existing understanding of a natural phenomenon, then modify it based on new knowledge.
Fish Friends develops a number of themes and concepts. They include habitat, biodiversity, life cycles, change over time, adaptation to change, freshwater ecology, sustainability and stewardship. In addition, the skills of observation, measurement, communication, prediction, numeracy, the use of charts and graphs and the interpretation of data are promoted throughout. Using science curriculum guidelines as its foundation, Fish Friends integrates social studies, language arts, math and art.
Using the Internet resources students will be able to further their understanding of conservation issues. They will be able to communicate on a more immediate level with students in the four Atlantic Provinces, Maine and British Columbia. Students will be able to communicate/share their ideas with students on native reserves within the Atlantic region. They will be given the opportunity to understand native concerns/views. Students will be able to link with students in British Columbia to compare/contrast concerns about salmon conservation on both coasts.
Students will create database of statistics on the survival rate of salmon raised through the Fish Friends programs. Students will be able to share pertinent information on the development of the stages of the life cycle. They will share with students in the other provinces their own ongoing projects suggested in the Fish Friends. Students will be able to ask questions of scientists and biologists working with Atlantic Salmon Federation.
Students will be able to develop online penpals with students in Atlantic Canada and British Columbia. They will write articles that will be available online on the Atlantic Salmon Federation's home page. Students will read two short stories. Their reactions to the issues raised in the stories can be shared with other classes involved in the program.
Students have restricted accessibility to a single Stem-Net computer located in the staff room. It has been impossible to carry out the Internet portion of the project with 60-65 students. Internet access throughout our school would make this total project possible. Students would have access to Atlantic Salmon Federation's Home Page including: