Science lessons start early at Five Acre School
The primary class (3- to 5-year-olds) at Five Acre School recently completed a weeklong introduction to the life cycle of salmon.
Michael Blanton, a fisherman and Washington State Fish and Wildlife employee, shared his knowledge with his son Isaac's class.
Blanton covered basics of fish anatomy with a hands-on learning experience including the dissection of both a male and female salmon donated by the Dungeness Hatchery. Students were able to examine the different body parts of the salmon and explore the salmon's transition from freshwater to the ocean and back again. Excitement grew as the mass of colorful salmon eggs was revealed.
One discussion included understanding how humans impact salmon ecosystems and identifying ways in which people can be good stewards of the environment.
Bob Maddux, Five Acre School primary lead teacher, said they had been studying the life cycle of the salmon all week, encouraging the children to draw and write in their nature journals as they learned each stage. Other activities included creating salmon-theme calendars to share at home, storytelling and exploring learning stations.
"Early and frequent exposure to our environment creates a comfort and curiosity that will hopefully cultivate the children's interest throughout their lives," Maddux said.
"My hope is to create that excitement and curiosity in the kids by introducing them to the beauty of our natural environment. We are so fortunate to live where we do and the more they know about the environment, the more likely they are to continue to care for it."
All salmon were returned to the Dungeness Hatchery to be used for nutrient enhancement in the river.