Sitting in a classroom all day can get pretty boring sometimes. A great way to engage students and encourage enthusiasm for learning is to bring in an interactive, hands-on approach to teaching. Classroom aquariums are a fantastic educational tool for learners of all ages, as the bright colors and dynamic environment are instantly appealing to students and provide context for a variety of lessons and concepts.
Key Educational Benefits of Aquariums
Reading is an integral part of our daily routine. Students will enjoy learning more about aquarium keeping by studying topics such as fish species, plants, and reefs. Who hasn’t heard about children’s “selective” reading habits, in which they only read books on subjects that interest them? The wide range of aquarium-related topics may help children who may not otherwise be interested in reading develop healthy reading habits.
Students may be asked to write papers or regular journal articles about the aquarium in the classroom. Students may also write letters with their questions to fish or aquatic experts. Both are excellent methods for improving grammar and writing skills.
Developing Critical Thinking and Problem-solving Skills
Students calculate and record water temperature, pH, ammonia, and nitrate levels in an aquarium to collect data. Look for patterns that align with aquarium events by charting or graphing the data. Even the loss of a fish offers an opportunity to explore potential causes and their repercussions, as well as preventative measures and ways to enhance current conditions. The possibilities for teaching and learning are infinite.
Aquarium keeping includes knowledge of biology, chemistry, ecology, and physics, to name a few. A classroom aquarium can be used to teach students about basic topics like fish anatomy, as well as more complicated topics like the food chain, water cycle, and nitrogen cycle.
Bringing Children and Parents Together
An aquarium can be a fun and educational opportunity for both parents and children to enjoy. Students not only acquire learning skills, but they are also willing to share what they have learned with family and friends because they are enthusiastic about their aquarium. Parents who are involved in their children’s school events are more likely to engage in other activities with them.
Benefits Of Aquariums For Younger Learners
Classroom aquariums can be used for many different purposes, depending largely on the age of the learners. For younger learners, aquariums can be used to foster a sense of responsibility and explain the importance of caring for each other and the environment. By encouraging learners to get involved in caring for the class pets, it creates a sense of accomplishment and motivates them to continue learning and showing an interest in topics related to the aquarium. This can be a great way to encourage learners to develop good reading habits, as children are more likely to read up on topics that are of interest to them. Aquarium-related topics offer a wide range of associated reading material such as information about different fish, coral and invertebrate species and general care of aquariums. Information on aquariums can also be found in a variety of media forms such as books, magazines and documentaries which is a great way to expose children to different types of literature.
Aquariums can also be a great source of inspiration for art projects as the brightly colored fish and corals make interesting subjects for painting or drawing. Children may also enjoy making up stories of the different fish in the tank or writing letters to the fish or local aquarium experts to ask questions and therefore practice creative writing and communication skills. Presentation skills can also be developed by asking learners to pick aspects of the aquarium life that interest them and giving them an opportunity to present their topic to the class.
“It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.”– Albert Einstein
Benefits Of Aquariums For Older Learners
In older learners, aquariums can be used to teach more complicated topics and to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Fostering a sense of curiosity in learners and inspiring them to look for answers is a far more effective teaching strategy than asking learners to memorize a bunch of facts that have no meaning or context to them. Learners should be encouraged to ask questions as answers that students have had to find themselves, either through hands-on experience, research or classroom discussions that are more likely to stick in their long-term memory.
Aquariums are dynamic miniature ecosystems that are popular tools for teaching pupils about scientific concepts and skills. Aquariums can be used to demonstrate concepts such as the food chain, the nitrogen cycle, the water cycle and fish anatomy, development and reproduction. Many students struggle with these concepts, but by providing context and giving meaning to the role of various processes in maintaining life not only within the aquarium but on a global scale, it motivates students to put in the effort to understand them. A hands-on interaction with these processes is likely to be a far more appealing prospect than having to learn out of a textbook and can help kinetic learners (people that learn by doing) grasp concepts much more quickly than through purely visual tools such as diagrams.
Aquariums also provide an easily accessible opportunity to monitor changes within an ecosystem and try relating changes within the system to particular events. For example, water temperature, pH, ammonia and nitrate levels are all variables that can be easily collected and graphed by students. Events, such as spawning, may be correlated to certain changes within these variables in the tank, which creates an opportunity for discussion as to possible reasons for the correlations. Aquariums, in particular, can demonstrate the role of the abiotic factors in maintaining life within an environment.
Outside The Classroom
Aquariums also act as an important tool for educating learners of all ages about conservation and the importance of looking after our planet and the creatures that live in it. Unfortunately, one of the realities of today is that many people have become very disconnected from nature. While many scientists talk about the detrimental impacts of climate change and habitat destruction, this often means very little to the average person as they don’t engage with nature and therefore don’t appreciate the significance of the loss of these important ecosystems.
Encouraging children to engage with miniature ecosystems such as aquariums grants them a connection to the natural world that they might otherwise not experience. The experience of interacting with these amazing ecosystems and creatures will hopefully encourage them to develop an interest in the environment and to care about protecting it for future generations. Aquariums can also be used to demonstrate the sensitivity of these systems to change and how small changes can impact the whole system.
In summary, classroom aquariums are a fun way to make learning exciting for students of all ages. They can inspire creativity, curiosity and foster a sense of responsibility among students.