Sustainable Fishing Game

On Thursday 1/9, Sheri Mahoney, Upper Division Science teacher and Jordan ’20, Upper Division Science Student came to help introduce aquaculture to 3rd grade.  Through a grant from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, FDACS, we have received a small aquaponics system aquarium that Upper Division will install in 3rd grade next week.  As pre-work for this installation, 3rd grade is learning about aquaculture and how it increases sustainability in our fish usage, harvest and production.  On Tuesday, 3rd grade played a sustainable fishing game using a common fishing pond, goldfish crackers, and year increments of one year = one minute.  During that year, students as representatives of their family, chose to take 0,1,2,3 or 4 fish.   Two fish was the survival requirement, above that, they could sell fish for money.  At the end of the year, the remaining fish in the pond reproduced to double the remaining population.  Students quickly learned that if they took beyond their actual survival needs, they eventually would run out of fish in the pond in a 5 year cycle.  We played the game again, with the addition of an aquaculture pond, and they found it was much easier to be sustainable with this addition.

Students were enthusiastic about the game and said –

“ It was amazing!  It was the Best Day Ever, best morning ever!” – Elizabeth L.

“The aquaculture pond helped my family not to get eliminated.” – Michael M.

“The people who were successful thought more about what they needed instead of what they wanted.” – Haadiya H.

“At the end, we got a lot of moolah.” – Matthew W. (they sold fish, but got eliminated in subsequent years).

“I liked it when we were running out of fish because I could say that we were going back to nuts & berries.” – Eva W.

“My whole group was being practical because we didn’t go over 2 fish per person (the survival rate).  We won the game – we survived and were sustainable.” – Elise H.

“We took too many fish the first time, and then we starved the next year.  In the next round, we learned to take only as much as we needed to survive.” – Haadiya H.

“It was really fun.  I wish that we could keep doing the game.” – Aidan J.

“I had to sacrifice my life for the good of my family” – William M.

“William blames me for starving his family, but I only took 2 fish, which is enough to survive.” – Julietta B.

“I was in this classroom when I was in 3rd grade and have so many wonderful memories from that year.   To  visit my old classroom and help teach about something that I am passionate about was amazing.  The kids were so thoughtful and the depth of their knowledge was really impressive. This was an experience I won’t forget.” – Jordan, ’20

In addition to this game reinforcing sustainability concepts, the students learning about ideas such as shared commons, both local (like a community fish pond) and global commons (like air, and international waters).  This kind of collaboration between high school students and elementary students is so beneficial in promoting their shared sense of community and sharing their knowledge and studies in authentic ways.

We are so excited about this project for its learning benefits to all of our students – not only for the ideas of sustainability, but also for the collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, communication, character and citizenship it fosters as part of our 6 Cs curriculum.

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