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Small World, Big Lessons
Small World, Big Lessons
Posted on 05/11/2021
Science lessons are coming to life for fifth-graders in Ms. Jordan Fisher’s class at Black Mountain Elementary. By Stacia Harris and Timothy Reaves
BCS Communications Department

Science lessons are coming to life for fifth-graders in Ms. Jordan Fisher’s class at Black Mountain Elementary. Each year students learn about the environment and ecosystems. Working in teams, they then build their own terrariums- self-sustained and sealed ecosystems. The terrariums have terrestrial and aquatic habitats in simple 2-liter soda bottles.

“The aquatic habitat has shrimp (scavengers), aquatic plants (producers), and fish (consumers),” said Ms. Fisher. “It also naturally has bacteria, so it has a decomposer as well.  The terrestrial habitat has soil, crickets, earthworms and grass.  Both ecosystems have all types of organisms that occur naturally in any ecosystem!”

These unique living ecosystems are placed in a perfect sunny spot in the classroom, and students refer to them throughout the school year in their other lessons. Students discuss how organisms all have a specific function and how balance is so important to the entire system. Even the smallest imbalances can disrupt the ecosystem.

“One or two of the terrariums didn't make it and we came to the conclusion that perhaps the students had just used hand sanitizer or lotion on their hands before putting the rocks in, so we had a great conversation about pollution and how important it is to keep the earth clean, because the animals and environments we depend on are extremely fragile,” said Ms. Fisher.

This interdisciplinary project is teaching the students many important science lessons and, most importantly, the students are having fun.

“I love doing this project with them because it's so hands on and they get so excited about it,” said Ms. Fisher. “They actually get to build a living ecosystem and watch it function in real life. This isn't something they can normally see so close up. Any animals or pets they may have require feeding and taking care of, which isn't what happens in the wild, and learning about the larger ecosystems is sometimes a little abstract for them to picture in their heads. This project brings a simple ecosystem to their level so they can observe and study it.”

Science lessons are coming to life for fifth-graders in Ms. Jordan Fisher’s class at Black Mountain Elementary.



Buncombe County Schools is in the process of reviewing its website to ensure compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Buncombe County Schools does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its education programs or activities and is required by Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 and federal regulations to not discriminate in such a manner. This requirement extends to admission and employment. Inquiries about the application of Title IX and its implementing federal regulations may be referred to the Title IX Coordinator and/or the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights in the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education. The Title IX Coordinator's contact information is: Shanon Martin, shanon.martin@bcsemail.org, 828-255-5918, 175 Bingham Road, Asheville, NC 28806.

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