Trout in the Classroom is a curriculum program that provides students the opportunity to learn about aquatic resources within a framework of hatching and raising rainbow trout. Participating classrooms are provided a coldwater aquarium system and rainbow trout eggs. Students monitor growth as their trout hatch and develop, and they take ownership of caring for the trout by feeding, testing water quality and cleaning the aquarium.
Throughout the program, students participate in activities that cover topics like aquatic habitat, water quality, ecosystem interactions, food webs, life cycles and Nebraska fish species. Students learn first-hand how all aspects of a trout’s life cycle, food web and habitat are interconnected and impacted by the environment. The program culminates in an end of the year field trip to Schramm Park and Ak-Sar-Ben Aquarium to release the trout fingerlings.
Curriculum is designed to align with 4th and 5th grade Nebraska State Academic Standards, but is suitable for other ages. Current participants range from second grade classes to high school.
Annual project timeline
November: Teacher training workshop.
December: Set up and operate aquarium in the classroom.
January: Rainbow trout eggs are picked up from Nebraska Game and Parks.
January-May: Trout are reared in classrooms.
April-May: Trout are relinquished to Game and Parks to be stocked at Schramm Park. Field trip opportunities are available.
May: Teachers evaluate the program and provide feedback to Game and Parks.
The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission annually contributes fertilized rainbow trout eggs, trout feed, training, curriculum, technical support, field trip opportunities and additional educational resources to participating schools.
Participating schools are required to obtain the following equipment to hatch and raise rainbow trout. Estimated start-up costs are about $1,000. The predominant cost is in the water chiller, which is required to support a cool water species. Scholarships to assist with equipment purchases are available through the Nebraska Game and Parks Foundation.
- Aqua Euro USA 1/4 HP Max Chill Chiller*
- AquaClear 110 Power Filter – Up to 110 gal.*
- Whisper 60 Aquarium Air Pump – 60 Gallons*
- Add-a-Stone Airstone – 10 in. x 2 in. x 1/2 in.*
- Mag Drive 700 Water Pump with 10 ft. Cord*
- Freshwater Substrate – River Jewels – 10 lb.*
- Lee’s Squeeze-Bulb Ultra Gravel Vac with on/off Valve*
- Aquarium Net*
- Net Breeder*
- Battery Operated Digital Thermometer*
- Outlet Tube & Diffuser Magnum 350 Canister Filter*
- Check Valve*
- Flexible Airline Tubing – 8 ft.*
- Flexible Tubing – 5/8 in. diameter*
- Female Insert Adapter – FPT x Insert – 1/2 in. x 1/2 in.*
- 40-50 Gallon Breeder Aquarium & suitable surface to hold its weight**
- API Freshwater Master Test Kit*
- Microbe-Lift Special Blend – 16 oz.*
- Nite Out II – 16 oz.*
- NovAqua Plus Water Conditioner – 16 oz.*
- Chemi-Pure Aquarium Filter Media – 10 oz.*
- Replacement filter media (charcoal, foam, bio-pellets)*
- Marina Battery Operated Air Pump for fish transport
- Turkey baster to remove dead eggs
- Two 5-gallon buckets for water changes
- Styrofoam insulation & duct tape to incubate aquarium
- Power strip
- Tulle or mesh to cover filter intake
Items on the above lists denoted with an * are available at a competitive price to TIC classrooms as a kit (we recommend kit #3) from That Pet Place, but can also be purchased separately.
Aquariums (denoted with **) are not supplied as part of the TIC kit from That Pet Place, but can typically be purchased from major pet suppliers during semi-annual gallon sales for $1/gallon capacity.
Cost of participation
The estimated start-up cost for participating schools is approximately $1,000. Nebraska Trout in the Classroom has set up a scholarship account through the Nebraska Game and Parks Foundation to assist new participants with these purchases. Additional local and national grants, scholarships and fundraising resources relevant to this project are also listed below.
- Nebraska Trout in the Classroom Scholarship
- Nebraska Academy of Sciences Public Information and Education (PIE) mini grants
- Captain Planet Foundation
- National Council of Teachers of Mathematics
- Toshiba America Foundation
- Environmental Protection Agency
- Melinda Gray Ardia Environmental Foundation
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Please note: This is not intended to be an exhaustive list. There are often local funding sources available for this type of project. We suggest approaching your school board and parent teacher groups for ideas.
Trout in the Classroom is made possible through funding from: