Trout in the Classroom program hooks Centaurus students

Colorado Trout Unlimited's 2012 shipment of trout eggs to Centaurus High School only arrived on Wednesday, but that was more than enough to dredge up fish tales from years past. For the third straight year, Centaurus will participate in the Trout in the Classroom program sponsored by Colorado Trout Unlimited and Boulder Flycasters. As one of six participating schools in Colorado, Centaurus received 100 trout eggs and a 55-gallon fish tank in which to raise them to adulthood.

But the stories varied on the size of the fish in last year's batch when they were released into Lafayette's Waneka Lake.

"I'd guess they were around 2 to 3 inches when we released them in May," said Centaurus science teacher Craig Weinhold, whose classroom becomes the six-month home to the project fish.

Sophomores Ryan Elliott and Aaron Wilkins, who both participated in the Trout in the Classroom program as freshmen, recall things differently.

"A few of them got pretty big, more than 6 inches long," Elliott said.

"They got huge," Wilkins said. "One was at least a foot."

A whole new set of fish stories began Wednesday with the arrival of 100 tiny, bright orange trout eggs in Weinhold's classroom.

"Kids do better with it when they can go out and see it for themselves rather than looking at a poster or a worksheet," Weinhold said. "(The trout tank is) a valuable tool that I can use as a reference point. But it's also good to have something visual in the classroom to get kids interested in biology."

Though the trout aren't part of a dedicated instructional unit, Weinhold said he incorporates the trout's ongoing development into his lesson plan as often as possible.

"We watch the stages of life they go through," Weinhold said. "The whole purpose is to get kids invested and go over the different concepts we work with in biology and apply them."

Those concepts include ecology, developmental biology, cell biology, genetics and evolution, "all things we can relate to pretty much whatever we're working on," Weinhold said.

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