BENTON—Baby lizards, snakes and other reptiles could hatch in a science classroom at Benton High School after a grant successfully secured the necessary equipment.
Science teacher Roxanne Boardman applied for a grant through donorschoose.org, a website for public school teachers to request money for classroom equipment and people who want to help can donate to specific teachers’ projects.
Boardman’s request for “reptile egg incubator and accessories” for $135.60 was successfully fulfilled earlier this month.
With the grant, she was able to purchase:
-Zoo Med Reptibator Egg Incubator, $107.68 each. The incubator is specifically for hatching reptile eggs as it has an electronic monitor to regulate the temperature and humidity, the two most important variables in ensuring the eggs will successfully hatch.
-Zoo Med Economy Analog Dual Thermometer, $7.93 each, as a back-up in case the one on the incubator fails.
-36-pack of 10 ounce round food storage containers at $10 each.
-Hatch ‘Em (1 pound), $9.99 each, which is what the eggs will sit on while they are incubating.
“We are still waiting for some small deli cups with lids to put the hatchrite and eggs in to keep each clutch separate from each other as they are incubating, which I think I can get from a local restaurant,” Boardman said.
The only thing missing is eggs to incubate.
“Currently we are asking for donor eggs from local reptile breeders to hatch and return back to the donors,” Boardman said. “So far, I have had offers from some near Milwaukee and I might need to make that road trip to get a few. Otherwise, we have a pair of Leopard Geckos that are currently in breeding mode and they can start to lay clutches of eggs as early as February and as late as August.
The reptile hatching project is specifically for Boardman’s biology class, although each of her science classes may follow the progress.
“The [biology] students can keep track of the data–daily temperature and humidity levels—and adjust accordingly,” Boardman said. “It is interesting to note that in hatching reptiles, temperature can determine the gender of the hatchlings.
So there are a lot of interesting activities we could do with this. Cooler temperatures can give us female geckos, warmer temperatures usually lead to males. We have a lot of reptiles in our room, so the elementary students take field trips to my class to meet the different types of reptiles.
In her classroom, Boardman has a selection of reptiles the students help take care of. The students grow the superworms and mealworms that the reptiles eat.
“If we have eggs hatch successfully from our own pair of geckos, we will keep a few females here to support the program and donate other geckos to students who would enjoy having their own at home,” Boardman said.
Boardman heard about the donorschoose.org site through other teachers.
“I thought what an interesting way to earn additional supplies for my classroom,” Boardman said. “It is a great site that allows me to "shop" for materials, explain how I am going to use them in my classroom and donors fund the ideas.”
She submitted the project at the beginning of the school year and got confirmation that the project was funded right after Christmas. She will send thank you notes to the donors once the project is underway.
“This was my first time submitting a project through donorschoose,” Boardman said. “I encourage anyone who would like to donate to schools or ideas to head to the website and see all the projects that are out there.”
Boardman is currently working on her next project for the students to try - a saltwater reef aquarium. She already has a 55-gallon tank and is submitting the project to get the aquarium ready for saltwater fish and coral.
“Studies show that students who care for animals increase attendance in school, generate less tension in the classroom, teach students about empathy, caring and relationships,” Boardman said. “I hope this project gives students a sense of pride and accomplishment. And I know that my students are very excited for this project.”