In June 2013, our homeschool group decided to go to the Hiram M Chittenden Locks.
This helped Kai become very interested in salmon. He wanted to learn all about salmon, particularly sockeye salmon. We returned to the locks several times over the next few months, watched several documentaries about salmon, and read a ton of books about salmon. Kai looked up pictures of salmon to print out and put on his bulletin board. He studied the life cycle of salmon and found out about a lot of the challenges that threaten salmon.
Kai studied salmon in-depth. One of the questions that was harder for him to get an answer to was why salmon turned pink. He asked several people, tried to look up the answer, but most sources had no idea. However, his friend’s mother works for the locks and she was able to tell him that salmon turn pink because they eat lots of krill. She also gave him, her boys, and another homeschooler an extra special tour of the locks.
At the locks, he was able to look closely at pre-served salmon eggs and he looked at live salmon in the viewing rooms at the fish ladder.
Kai thinks, “It’s good that they can change to being in salt water and fresh water.”
He discovered that only the males get big humps and big hooked noses. That after salmon spawn, they die. They stop eating when they start migrating and use all their energy to reproduce.
He decorated a bag for the library and a lot of what he did on the bag related to salmon: he drew rocks for them to lay their eggs in, several different stages of salmon (including eggs, fry, smolt, and adult salmon).
Kai said his favorite part about learning about salmon was when he was at the locks with his friends and they learned about salmon and the locks together. When asked what he thought the neatest thing about salmon was, he said, “That they get big humps on their backs and hooked jaws.”
Kai studied salmon fairly in-depth from June through the beginning of August 2013.