The students will release the brook trout into a stream once they're mature enough. The fourth-graders also know to not feed the fish too many shrimp flakes.
"We raised them since they were just bitty eggs," Frame said.
The brook trout are largely the children's responsibility, Brown said.
"The children have taken care of all of this," she said. "If the children have a question, they go to the Internet to get the answer. Not me."
The brook trout project is one element of the innovation zone's environmental awareness piece. With help from a community partnership grant, Elk Elementary teachers plan to transform the school's outdoor courtyard into a "free-flowing habitat" with a pond, plants, birds, flowers, insects, fish and turtles.
Students will use gardening tools to maintain the courtyard, and the $8,000 grant will help pay for a gazebo and picnic tables where students will investigate, observe, record data and solve problems.
"Using a habitat-based learning site makes learning more real, fun, hands-on, interdisciplinary, and relevant," Elk Center staffers wrote in their innovation zone application.
The teachers and staff at Elk Center also want to introduce more healthy food options into the lunch menu, like whole wheat bread. Fruit and vegetables will be offered as an afternoon snack. Before the school day begins, students can exercise during "morning clubs." A second community partnership grant, worth $75,000, will help with renovations to Elk Center's swimming pool, Bradley said.
In the long term, Bradley and Brown have their eyes on curbing the dropout rate in Kanawha County, and encouraging students to think about college and other education or technical training beyond high school. "Research indicates that that hook has to be at the elementary level," Brown said.
Nearly three out of every five students at Elk Elementary Center are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals. In their application to become an innovation zone, school officials said the building houses 637 students.
Brown gives her students surveys to help them identify where their strengths lie. For instance, a student who leans toward math-logic intelligence might make an engineer, math teacher, accountant or scientist.
Students with physical intelligence might want to consider a wide range of careers: from becoming a surgeon or actor to a carpenter or forest ranger.
"So many students don't even understand there's an opportunity to be a photographer," Brown said.
Ava Sekercak learned that her learning style best aligns with language intelligence. Sekercak and her sister like to do "fake TV announcements" at home. Some people with language intelligence show skill as radio or TV announcers. "I really love to write," she said.
Bradley knows that the fifth-graders will be more advanced than the kindergarten students in incorporating the arts, but that's not to say it will be lacking in the younger grades.
Kindergarteners, for instance, used popsicle sticks to illustrate musical sounds in Mark Davis' music class.
Bradley noted that, "when you learned the alphabet, it was through song."
Reach Davin White at davinwh...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1254.