Sharks in the classroom
Because school budgets often don't have room for field trips anymore, the Idaho Aquarium is providing field trips in reverse -- taking impressive animals to the schools. Video by IdahoOnYourSide.comvideo
Despite the legal troubles of two people at the Idaho Aquarium, the place is still open, and the animals are still there for all to see -- sometimes even when you're not even at the aquarium. Think back to elementary school and field trips may be some of the first things that come to mind. But with tight school budgets and high costs, those trips aren't always feasible anymore. That's why the aquarium is reversing the roles -- taking trips to treasure valley schools.
The animal resting in a tank in a Washington Elementary School classroom in Boise isn't a common classroom pet.
"A little pink worm thing like this long and it had little whisker-looking things on each side," is how first grader James Welcker described it.
That pink thing is an unborn shark in the classroom.
"I think every class is a little envious that we have a shark in our room," said James' teacher, Nancy Neely.
It all started when James' family visited the Idaho Aquarium and heard about the possibility of raising a real, live shark egg at school. Neely immediately knew it was a good idea. But the class had to provide a tank, a pump, a heater and a thermometer -- things you don't find just sitting around at school.
"As a class they had to decide where the money was going to come from -- their piggy banks, their parents, or would they raise it?" Neely said.
The kids went with the latter idea, and with a quick toy yard sale and bake sale after school, they raked in $355 in just 15 minutes. Marine biologist Nathan Hall brought in the fragile egg with gallons of saltwater for the new tank.
"Some of these kids have never been to the ocean before, never seen or touched a shark before in their life so this is a pretty unique opportunity," he said.
As the "little pink worm thing" develops, Hall has been making visits to check on the egg, and now the first graders are little experts, telling even the older grades all about their shark.
"It has become a part of what we've been doing and talking about and learning about," Neely said.
"I like looking at it and I like to know that I did the work to bring it in," James said.
Check out the video to see an in-studio explanation from Nathan Hall about the process of literally cutting a window in the shark eggs so people can see what's happening inside.
Spencer Blake, Good Morning Idaho