Each year we purchase 500 coho salmon eggs and raise them in our class. Silver salmon are indigenous to Alaskan waters and are a staple of the Athabascan diet. King salmon are more prized but also in short supply, so we were not allowed to catch them this year. When kings are abundant, silvers may be fed to the dogs, but this year they are on the dinner table.
Lots of science and art projects hatch from those eggs. This drawing of a baby salmon in the “alevin” stage is a favorite of mine. You can see its lateral line (a sensory organ that helps the salmon “hear”) and its yolk sac that we affectionately call the lunch bag. Alevin can’t swim so they wiggle around on the gravel bed where they can hide.
Rochelle drew the gray wolf with black pastels and I wish you could see the wonderfully smooth shading of her original. It is estimated that there are about 160 gray wolves on the Yukon Flats, an area of some 10,000 square miles (6.5 million sq km). That is low, maybe because the moose upon which they prey are also in decline.
Moose are a vital part of the Athabascan diet and hunters have no intention of sharing their meal with the wolves. You can guess what that means for the wolf.
Rochelle no longer attends our school, much to our loss.
Allison drew her wonderful impression of a hypothesis as part of our study on the scientific method. All that detailed shading in the background took her many, many student hours to complete. Allison is pictured on my last post. I am a big fan of her art.
We haven’t any art classes. We haven’t any art teachers. So we incorporate art into all our classes and do our amateurish best to turn our kids into famous illustrators. Sometimes they teach us! How are they doing?