Holmdel, NJ – The halt of traditional teaching and the transition to virtual was sudden. It has been a time of educational change in NJ and throughout the country. However, remote learning hasn’t stopped a team of the Holmdel School District's Indian Hill School science teachers, from delivering an unforgettable learning experience to their students.
Under normal circumstances, the sixth graders would have been heading out on a field trip to witness a spring trout release last week. With the statewide closure of school buildings, that wasn’t possible. The students had been enjoying caring for the trout in a tank at Indian Hill school since October, until March, when the district suddenly shifted to remote instruction. At that point, the Holmdel custodians began routinely caring for the fish, with the teachers stopping in weekly to check on everything.
The trout release activity, which is part of the ecosystem curriculum, is offered through a partnership with Trout in the Classroom (TIC). TIC ships the eggs to the school in the fall. The teachers and students take it from there to raise the fish. With guidance from their teachers, the students are responsible for keeping a diary of egg counts and water quality test results to ensure a good number of trout to release in the spring.
Almost timed to the beginning phases of re-opening NJ, rather than skipping the event altogether, the Indian Hill School science teachers invited their students to join them remotely to witness the live release. Mr. McCarthy positioned his Chromebook on a chair near the water’s edge and the students were able to get an up-close view as Ms. George and Ms. Broadhurst released the trout into a tributary of the nearby Manasquan River. The engaged students watched and listened virtually, observing their teachers explaining the step-by-step release process of the trout.
In a video recording of the event, Ms. George and Ms. Broadhurst explained that the trout are acclimating to their new environment. Just as the trout will be adjusting to their new surroundings, it’s fair to say these science teachers and their students have adjusted to their new teaching environment too.
“This live release was the most well-attended remote lesson we’ve taught so far,” stated Kevin McCarthy, science teacher at Indian Hill School.
While COVID-19 has forced the cancellation of most events, this dedicated team of science teachers was determined to share the trout release with their students virtually.
“We’re looking forward to next year, when we can return to the Manasquan River together for another spring trout release,” stated Cathleene George, science teacher at Indian Hill School.