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Trout in the Virtual Classroom: when hands-on learning goes digital

dead fish on a dissection tray
KIFI/KIDK
Idaho Fish and Game's Trout in the Classroom program has gone completely virtual.

POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - When you're typically surrounded by eager students, teaching hands-on and interactive lessons to a computer is very different.

“It is a little challenging to do these kinds of lessons where I don’t have an audience right in front of me," said Jennifer Jackson, with Idaho Fish and Game.

"I don’t get to see their expressions on the kids faces and see the excitement and see the hands go up for questions,” she said.

Jackson runs F&G's Trout in the Classroom program, where students raise trout in class until they're ready to release the fish in the fall. Classes from all over the region participate.

But thanks to the coronavirus, Trout in the Classroom doesn't have a classroom.

“This year's a really interesting year because of the concerns with COVID, so as we know our learners are at home now,” Jackson said.

On Tuesday, Jackson recorded and streamed a trout dissection with the help of the Idaho Museum of Natural History.

Trout Dissection

We are with Jennifer Jackson of the Idaho Fish and Game for a live trout dissection for the Trout in the Classroom curriculum.

Posted by Idaho Museum of Natural History on Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Virginia Jones, the museum's education specialist, was teaching her first year of Trout in the Classroom to 15 students at the museum.

“We were working through the curriculum until the middle of March,” Jones said.

Then the pandemic happened. Like every class, Jones' students went home.

“But then I also realized that everybody else was actually even losing their aquarium because the teachers couldn’t get back in the classroom to keep the aquariums up,” Jones said.

Jones was able to keep the museum's tank going, and turned the class digital.

“It’s not the same as in-person, but it’s the best we can do right now,” Jones said.

On Tuesdays, Jones streams a live lesson to the museum's Facebook page, so anyone can participate in the rest of the curriculum.

“It’s just wonderful we are in an age when we can use technology to reach out to our students and still try to provide quality education for them,” Jackson said.

Read more about the Trout in the Classroom here. Watch the lessons here.

Education / Idaho / Local News / Pocatello / Top Stories
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Emma Iannacone

Emma is a reporter for Local News 8 and KIDK Eyewitness News 3.

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