My first year teaching I had an ancient guinea pig named Raven as a classroom pet. She was blind, but we taught her to come to the front of her cage by giving her a treat every time we rang a certain bell. Visitors were always amazed that if they rang the red bell she would ignore it, but the green bell would have her scurrying to the front of the cage, squeaking her head off! The students absolutely loved her and were so proud that they had helped to train her! Unfortunately, my principals have all been squeamish around small animals (regardless of the fact that it's in my room in a cage!) so now I'm down to hermit crabs and our chicks/ducklings in the spring!
Below you can see our Classroom Crabitat for our hermit crabs. My students loove them! I think they're cute little buggers too! During the summer they hang out at my house, here are a few close ups I took of them:
Alright, back to the original post now, the set-up of my Crabitat:
I have to give a quick shout out to Mr. Leardini of PetCo. He contacted me last week about my Pets in The Classroom post. If you read that one, you know that I was disappointed in the grant package that was sent in response to my application for a hermit crab setup in my classroom. Well, somehow, PetCo got wind of that post and Mr. Leardini contacted me to see what the issue was, I gave him a brief rundown of the discrepancies between what I had asked for, what I received and what PetCo recommends in their Hermit Crab Care Sheets. The next thing I know, a box arrives at school filled with all that we could ever want for our Crabitat! We received a ton of Zoo Med products:
My students were sooo excited when we opened the box!
There were extra shells for our crabs to grow into....
Food and substrate - not pictured here we also received coconut fiber substrate as well as sand.
A bone to ensure our crabs get the minerals they need, as well as a thermometer so we can keep track of the temperature AND humidity levels!
This hooks up to the heater they sent to make sure that the temperature remains constant - we can even hook up a mister if humidity drops too low!
After school today I set up the aquarium for our new friends, and I think it looks wonderful! I know the kids will be so excited to see the aquarium set up and ready and truly appropriate for our hermies to live long happy lives (did you know they can live over 10 years in captivity?!).
Here's the whole thing set up - wish I had thought to take a before picture, but it would have been pitiful.
We set the tank up into three separate areas - this is the eating area.
Here's the water park - two separate dishes, one for drinking water and one for slat water - one of my kids asked how the crabs would know which one is which so we had a great discussion about the taste of salt water and that it dehydrates so we can't just give them one bowl of salt water.
Here's the climbing gym - we built this part up so it's a slope, plus the logs and rock will enable the crabs to get their exercise.
You can't really see, but we have the heater attached on the side, as well as a climbing mat in the rear of the tank to give them the opportunity to go vertical! Our Science Center is looking fabulous now - our caterpillars are hanging out next to the crabs, plus our seeds are starting to sprout in our greenhouse!
His teacher has a cute print out of a some songs to play on the water xylophone, when she figures out where she printed it from, I will see if I can post the link to it! My son loved this activity - they used the food coloring to mix the colors and he was fascinated by the process.
This is the time of the year when I really love teaching! So many new and wondrous things around us - from our praying mantis egg case, to our incubator full of chicken and duck eggs! The weather is even nice enough that tomorrow we will be practicing our spelling words on the basketball court with sidewalk chalk! There are so many things to see and do in the Spring - makes me wish it came at the beginning of the year rather than at the end when I have so much curriculum left to stuff into the few weeks left of school! Alright, that's it for tonight, have a good one everyone!
Tune in tomorrow for a freebie AND a special post about my brag tags!