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Simmons Teacher Robert Abernathy Utilizes Hoover City School Foundation Grant for Science Purposes
Posted On:
Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Simmons Teacher Robert Abernathy

Utilizes Hoover City School Foundation Grant for Science Purposes

For the fifth time, Simmons Middle School Science Teacher Robert Abernathy received a grant from the Hoover City School Foundation. Since 2012, Abernathy has used the grants to teach 7th grade students about and how to care for 30 different species and over 250 organisms.

As part of their classroom studies, students have helped to maintain the habitats, which are located in Abernathy’s classroom. This has made it easier to continue adding additional organisms to the evolving ecosystems and gives students a hands-on learning experience.

One result of this year’s work was students were able to examine the cycling of matter between the abiotic and biotic parts of ecosystems by creating a balanced habitat. The students used data generated from classroom ecosystems to demonstrate how changes to physical and biological parts of an ecosystem lead to shifts in populations; students also monitored the organisms’ health and interactions with other populations within an artificial community. There were a series of habitat rotations to create and test the healthiest growth for the given organisms. Additionally, students analyzed and interpreted data to predict how environmental conditions and genetic factors influenced the growth of organisms.  

Over the years, the class has taken field trips to the Cahaba River, Moss Rock Preserve, and even added species from the students’ own backyards.

“The HCS Foundation has been instrumental in giving the students something additional to look forward to when entering my classroom every day,” said Abernathy. “I have students come to me years later and still ask questions about some of the different critters we have taken care of over the years."

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