Kent School collaborates with National Aquarium
CHESTERTOWN — For 10 consecutive years, Kent School has raised terrapins in the classroom in conjunction with several environmental organizations as part of the Lower School Bay Studies curriculum.
The school’s most recent partnership with the National Aquarium in Baltimore began six years ago. According to their website, “The National Aquarium’s Terrapins in the Classroom Program brings Maryland students face to face with the state reptile, the diamondback terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin).”
This academic year, Kent School is one of a handful of schools asked to raise two terrapins each under different conditions. One terrapin will be raised in a tank with slightly higher water temperature. The resulting data will help scientists better understand the possible effects of global warming on terrapin nesting habits.
Kent School’s fourth grade students are responsible for measuring weight and growth of the two terrapins at timed intervals. Their data is recorded and shared with the National Aquarium’s Terrapins in the Classroom database.
In addition to naming the school terrapins, Squirt and Chesapeake, fourth grade students are responsible for care and feeding of the terrapins throughout the year.
In the spring, the students will embark on a field trip to Poplar Island where they will release Squirt and Chesapeake into native marsh habitat. Temperature-dependent sex determination will be of particular interest when Squirt and Chesapeake are released.
Pam Deringer, Lower School Science teacher, will incorporate terrapin study into her Bay Studies curriculum.
Deringer will lead fourth grade students in a hands-on, inquiry based exploration of Chesapeake Bay Studies. Her science curriculum is coordinated with fourth grade social studies and history where the focus is on Maryland History starting with John Smith’s exploration and mapping of the Bay and its tributaries.
For more information about Kent School or the Bay Studies Program visit www.kentschool.org or call 410-778-4100 ext. 110.