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HNS teacher hatches education plan for her students

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HARTINGTON — Rita Pedersen is hatching new knowledge in her junior high independent studies class.

The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission presented Pedersen with a grant to hatch rainbow trout in her classes as a project for her independent studies class.

The class will be learning about anything and everything fish related, including things like the fish life cycle and the anatomy of the trout.

The fish currently live in a fish tank in the back of Pedersen’s classroom.

There is a small mesh basket clipped to the side of the tank where the fish will stay until they get bigger.

The fish are just learning how to eat, and the water is kept at 50-53 degrees.

The project will take some time, as the fish will have to grow, Pedersen said. Some of the fish have already died, because as they grow, it becomes harder to live on their own and get adequate nutrition.

Their environment will have to grow as well.

Pedersen moved the fish into a bigger basket on Feb. 3, so they can all get better access to their food. As of now, the class is working on learning how to test water for different chemicals and monitoring the water temperature.

Pedersen was originally given 200 eggs to hatch, and about 10 of those that hatched did not survive. The living fish are currently feeding off of their yolk sacs until they are big enough to eat normal fish food.

“The fish will be handed over to the Game and Parks Commission after they are grown to the length of about a finger,” Pedersen said.

She expects this to happen around May 1. The trout will then be relocated to Ponca State Park. The release could end up being a field trip for the students, however, due to possible COVID restrictions at that time, Pedersen is unsure if that field trip will still be able to take place.

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