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Old 03/23/2014, 06:22 PM   #1
Sugar Magnolia
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The Awesome Squad Question and Answer Thread

This thread is dedicated to Brandon Rutherford's third grade gifted class at Garden Hills Elementary School in Champaign Illinois.

The purpose of this thread is so that his students can ask questions that members of Reef Central's community can answer, and the members of the Reef Central community can offer fun facts and simple questions that Mr. Rutherford's 8/9 year old students can relate to.

Please keep this thread geared toward elementary school students.


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Old 03/23/2014, 09:00 PM   #2
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Thanks Reef Central

Hello Reef Central,

My name is Brandon Rutherford and I'm a third grade teacher at Garden Hills Elementary School in Champaign IL. As a teacher, I'm tasked with supporting my students academically, and socially and emotionally as well. To this end, I wanted to create a project that gave students in my school a sense of responsibility, having to plan for the ongoing care of something big; a project that would require all of them to work together with a common goal. What started as a classroom aquarium turned into huge project that now involves tanks in multiple classrooms, the participation of my whole school, and the support of hundreds of people in the reefing community.

Words are not enough to express the growth and joy that I see in my kids each day as part of this project. Please know that it means a lot to them.

With your support through posts and responses on this sticky, I want to make writing questions and reading responses on Reef Central a regular part of my classroom's science and language arts curriculum.

Most of my students read at a 4th or 5th grade level. They can decode (sound out) most words but don't have the background knowledge to understand complex science. Please err on the side of over-explaining. Also, pictures always help. I will have each student include their first name so that Reef Central users can keep track of them. If you have any questions or comments please PM me or email me via my website.

I look forward to where this can go.

Brandon




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Old 03/23/2014, 09:02 PM   #3
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On spring break

This is Brandon.

Please note that we just started spring break, I'll be around to answer questions but the kiddos will not be back until the 31st.


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Old 03/24/2014, 09:57 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by brandoniscool View Post
This is Brandon.

Please note that we just started spring break, I'll be around to answer questions but the kiddos will not be back until the 31st.
And your going to be busy tomorrow....

Richard TBS
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Old 03/24/2014, 10:07 AM   #5
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Hi Brandon,

The participation of your class is a needed breath of fresh air for Reef Central. Thank you for allowing Reef Central to be a part of this.

Brian


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Old 03/24/2014, 05:24 PM   #6
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Hi Brandon!!!


Hello Awesome Squad!!!!!


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Old 03/24/2014, 07:19 PM   #7
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This is so cool! Good luck with all your questions


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Old 03/25/2014, 03:01 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by liverock View Post
And your going to be busy tomorrow....

Richard TBS
www.tbsaltwater.com
Does this mean the kids will have new goodies in the tank to learn about?


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Old 03/25/2014, 04:23 PM   #9
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Does this mean the kids will have new goodies in the tank to learn about?
Just wait and see!

Gotta take care of our kids these days....

Richard TBS
www.tbsaltwater.com


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Old 03/26/2014, 11:17 PM   #10
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Amazing donation from Tampa Bay Saltwater

Hey RC, this is Brandon. For a long time I've wanted my students to take the next step and formally share their reefing skills with interested peers. To this end Awesome Squad will begin partnering with Mrs. Perez's third grade bi lingual class and expanding our reef project through the addition of a new tank set up in their room. With a bunch of my own money and a generous donations from Diablo Corals, Reef Dynamics, Tunze USA, Ecotech and more I had the tank setup but no live rock. Just when I was about to try to find some local dry base rock, Liverock (Richard) from Tampa Bay Saltwater PM's me on Reef Central and generously offered to hook me up with some of his special product.

His donation resulted in one of the most fun and surprising gifts I've ever been given (as it turns out we got a lot more than just liverock). I've only been in a real reef once and have never got to experience the complexity of the life on liverock until his 'ocean in a box' was shipped to me. The last two days have been very exiting.

I am still overwhelmed by everything that is included in his packaged deal and sleepless after spending my free time online reading up to make sure i take good care of everything.

For the next couple of day's I'll be posting and asking questions about what we received. I'll do my personal research on other threads. Please respond to my questions with my students as the audience and explain things in detail and keep your language simple. I want them to also be experts on our new livestock.

A slide show of all of our pictures can be seen on my website here.

Below are some pictures of the highlights.



Luckily some Awesome Squad members were able to come in from break. Tina is one of my most dependable students and the main reef boss (student expert) for my classroom.


My kiddos are hampered by their stubby arms.



We've watched videos on mantis shrimp already and it's awesome to have one of our very own.

http://mrrutherfordisawesome.weebly....91349_orig.jpg

Every bag had some kind of cool hitchhiker in it.


It took about 5 minutes for each bag to be opened, it had to be passed around and a million questions asked. It took over 2 hours just to unpack everything.



I made them start writing their ideas down so they would stop peppering me with them.



The urchins were one of the favorites, and apparently they can be hand fed, something my kiddos line up to do.



It was had to be patient while the bags were acclimating.



I know the big hermit crab will be a huge hit. Alex said he wanted to keep him for himself because he was shellfish, yuck yuck



Each piece of live rock was picked up and examined. It took two or three kids to move each one.



This is obviously not rock you can buy at your local fish store. Each one was covered with different kinds of sponges, tunicates, crabs, shellfish and more.


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Old 03/27/2014, 07:14 AM   #11
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Wow! That is absolutely great!


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Old 03/27/2014, 08:34 AM   #12
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This is awesome! I had something similar back when I was in third grade as well. Great learning experience!


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Old 03/27/2014, 09:18 AM   #13
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Nice Richard!!!!


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Old 03/27/2014, 10:02 AM   #14
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I've said it before and I'll say it again….

RICHARD IS DA MAN!!!


Anyone who has ordered from TBS knows it's like Christmas when those white boxes arrive.
I can only imagine how it felt for those kids.
Way to go, Richard!


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Old 03/27/2014, 10:43 AM   #15
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water is clearing up


Water is starting to clear up



going the feed the mantis shrimp a prawn tonight, he's hiding in there somewhere



36 hours after sand, rock and livestock was put in and still no ammonia


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Old 03/28/2014, 06:19 PM   #16
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Wow you guys Are looking great. Awesome project wish My school would've been so keen on and cool on such things. Love the above tank refugium Keep up the work There is never ending learning in the reef world. Stick with it the marine hobby is demanding it will take some patience, group effort and some determined and open minded thoughts.


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Old 03/29/2014, 05:26 AM   #17
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Richard, that was incredibly generous of you. People like you are what I remember this hobby being all about, my hat tips to you sir.
Brandon, is there a list of corals that you already have somewhere? I'm kinda local and want to send something to the awesome project and don't want to send something you already have.

Hi kids!!!


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Old 03/29/2014, 05:38 AM   #18
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OMG this is so cool and those kids all look like future Marine Biologists, or maybe Rocket Scientists. Very interested and smart looking class. I am so impressed and there is so much to learn and they are at the age to absorb all of it. Very cool.

You asked for pictures and I thought this guy would be interesting. It is a lettuce slug and what makes him so awesome is that after he grows up, he can live off sunlight like a plant and doesn't have to eat any more.




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Old 03/29/2014, 06:19 AM   #19
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Nice critter Paul, here's one of my favorites in my tank.
It's a Spiny (or Pink and Green) Sea Cucumber. Unlike other Sea Cucumbers that eat things from the sand, these find a spot they like and filter their food from the water.



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Old 03/29/2014, 12:43 PM   #20
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^^^^^Cool critter! ^^^^^


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Old 03/29/2014, 02:16 PM   #21
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Thanks Adrienne, one of my favorites. I've had it for years and it's only moved twice.


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Old 03/29/2014, 02:24 PM   #22
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Wow, just wow. Brandon, thank you so much for sharing your pictures (and tell Alex he is very punny).

That had to be so exciting to see all the fascinating critters that Richard shipped your way. Thumbs up to all the donors, and a bigger thumbs up to a teacher that is so passionate about his students.


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Old 03/29/2014, 03:08 PM   #23
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Wow, just wow. Brandon, thank you so much for sharing your pictures (and tell Alex he is very punny).

That had to be so exciting to see all the fascinating critters that Richard shipped your way. Thumbs up to all the donors, and a bigger thumbs up to a teacher that is so passionate about his students.



This is the key....teachers like Brandon.....my other 1/2 is a teacher....for the last 25 years...EMH kids....3-4 years old...I have seen how the system has changed in those years....teachers now spend their own money for school supplies ...is sad...when I was in college you could go to any university you wanted to in California...if you had the GPA....at NO charge...just books...

today the school systems and kids are behind the 8 ball...and anything you can do to help is imperative...

Brandon is defiantly one of the amazing....and I am sure there are many more like him in our society...teachers are so special, but when you find one like Brandon, it is easy to help.

Richard TBS
www.tbsaltwater.com



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Old 03/29/2014, 04:52 PM   #24
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That was an incredibly generous gift, Richard, my hat's off to you sir.

Brandon - you might consider the idea of starting to feed phytoplankton to the system with Richard's rock. The kids might be interested in the difference between phytoplankton and zooplankton, and how the food web on a coral reef depends on it.


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Old 03/29/2014, 06:22 PM   #25
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Here are some more cool creatures. You can see the tiny baby octopi or octopuses that are one day old and about as big as an ant. They hunt small fish and shrimps and when they wrestle with it, they shoot a little squirt of ink to confuse whatever it is they are wrestling with.




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