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Hartman takes crayfish to conference

August 31, 2011

Jim Hartman, 4th grade teacher at Custer School, will present “Crayfish in the Elementary Classroom” at a state teachers conference Sept. 30.

Broken Bow 4th grade teacher Jim Hartman knows his crawdads - and any kid who has gone through his science class knows all about them too.
For more than 20 years Hartman has been using the little crustacians to teach his students a variety of science lessons with hands-on, fun experiments using crayfish. This month, Hartman will be presenting a workshop on that subject at the Nebraska Association of Teachers of Science State Conference.
“Crayfish in the Elementary Classroom” will be the topic of Hartman’s presentation at the conference, scheduled for Friday morning, Sept. 30. His workshop will cover:
* live hands-on experience with crayfish
* information on housing, care, feeding, handling, sexing crayfish, obtaining crayfish, and more
* activities to do with crayfish, including fact/inference and stimulus/response
* how students can do their own experiments
* using other content areas
* conducting a “Crawdad Olympics”
In his own classroom, Hartman has his students come up with their own ideas for experiments with the crawdads, then compile the data and present it to the class. The “Crawdad Olympics” is the grand finale of the unit, where the students form teams and “compete” in a variety of events with their crawdads.
Hartman says he has presented on this topic at the conference once before, but that was many years ago.
“I have added quite a bit of stuff since then,” he laughs.
The opportunity to present at NATS State Conference is quite an honor, say staff members at Custer School where Hartman teaches. It involves an application process, then an invitation. Hartman says he plans to wear his famous crayfish hat and shirt for his presentation. And Hartman’s students, both past and present, will tell you this is one teacher who knows how to make learning fun!

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