Discovery Room kicks off in October

Molly Swartz assisting the students with the adult phase of the life cycle.

Discovery Room is in full swing at Mt. Eccles Elementary School. Our team of educators visited the fourth through sixth grade classrooms twice this month, each for a two-hour session of science and exploration. The curriculum for each grade falls under a specific theme that they follow throughout the school year—one that is locally relevant to their community, but also has broader, more global implications.

The fourth grade theme is “salmon,” a valuable resource in Cordova.  For the month of October, they learned about the salmon life cycle and they used their noses in a game simulating how salmon find their way back to their home streams.

The fifth grade theme is “Pacific herring.” Prince William Sound once supported a lucrative herring fishery, before there was a dramatic species decline in the early nineties, from which they have never recovered. Herring is also a critical middle trophic level species, transferring energy from lower trophic levels (i.e. plankton) to higher trophic levels (i.e. sea lions and birds.) To start off the year, students learned the basic elements of the scientific method by conducting ocean monitoring experiments. They also mastered the concept of a food web with an interactive game.

The sixth grade theme is “oil spill response.” The 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill had a direct impact on Cordova’s residents and the surrounding ecosystems. Continued research and technological advances are critical for effective oil spill response. The beginning of this unit focused on water properties. Students then explored water technology by performing a mock deep sea exploration.

Stay tuned for more updates as the students continue to explore these themes!

Molly Swartz assisting the students with the adult phase of the life cycle.

Marita Kleissler explains the final stages of the salmon life cycle

Hayley Hoover answering a students questions about the salmon fry stage of the life cycle

Cara goodwin oversees the students jotting down notes about the salmon life cycle














Fourth grade students at Mt. Eccles Elementary School learning about the salmon life cycle.