‘Sardine Lab’ a smelly, enlightening learning experience

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Sometimes learning stinks and is really fun at the same time. Karen Eller’s 5th grade students at Oak Grove Elementary got their hands stinky studying vertebrates with a “Sardine Lab.”

Each student used toothpicks to see if they could find the backbone in a sardine. Once they found it, the class talked about why a fish would need a backbone and what other animals would need one for the same reason.

“Many students have misconceptions when it comes to animals. Students have a hard time figuring out if an animal has a backbone or not. We decided we would give students a chance to discover for themselves whether or not fish have a backbone,” said Eller. “This helps students start to find similarities in animals and learn why they are grouped together in the classification system.”

It was thrilling to see the class engrossed in the lesson.

“I love to see students discover things on their own. This is what science is all about,” Eller said. “Students were asking questions, making observations, and drawing conclusions while having a lot of fun. We hope to continue to provide these fun and meaningful learning experiences for the students, even when they get a little smelly.”

It wasn’t your average class assignment, and the class didn’t mind.

“The students LOVED this activity,” said Eller. “Some students even put the backbone in a baggie and took it home. I sure hope their parents get that out of their backpack!”

Karen Eller’s 5th grade students at Oak Grove Elementary got their hands stinky studying vertebrates with a “Sardine Lab.”