Writer’s Block: Science lesson continues

School might have ended a month ago, but my daughter’s science lesson continues on at home.

Kelly Johnson
Kelly Johnson

That’s because we’re now the proud owners of a crayfish that was one of a handful that my daughter’s class observed at the close of the school year.

The third-graders learned about the parts of the crayfish, what crayfish eat and other specifics (my daughter’s favorite fact – “the girls are more aggressive”).

Then a note was sent home looking for homes for the aquatic creatures at the conclusion of classes.

The note included some helpful how-to tips for caring for the crayfish and what to feed the creatures.

The first ones to turn in their permission slip would be rewarded with a new pet.

To say my daughter was excited about the prospect of a new pet is the understatement of the year.

So, despite knowing nothing about crayfish other than what the permission slip mentioned, we agreed to bring one of those little creatures home.

A few days prior to bringing the crayfish home, I stopped by the local pet shop to get the necessary supplies.

The helpful woman working smiled when I told her what I needed.

Apparently there is a run on crayfish supplies in late spring as students bringing these classroom projects home.

As we are gathering the container, rocks and food, the woman shares some tips on feeding and care with me.

Then she shows me some other creatures that can be housed in the container when the crayfish dies.

Apparently, according to the woman, often these creatures don’t make it very long due to how they are transported or cared for.

Uncertain as I already was about bringing this new pet into our home, her little pep talk certainly didn’t get my hopes up about our new addition.

“We can always get fish,” I told my husband later that night.

Neither of us were very excited about the crayfish’s prospects of living a long life.

The last day of school finally arrives and we bring the crayfish (the largest one in the entire class, according to my daughter) home and get her settled into her new digs.

Then comes the task of naming the newest member of the Johnson family.

Killer is my son’s idea, to which his sister replies, “But she’s a girl.”

Eventually she settles on naming the crayfish Katy.

Katy the crayfish spends her first few days wandering around tank and sheltering herself in her rock hideout.

When she ventures out, the kids are eager to touch her shell and pick her up, watching her arch her back and try to grab their fingers with her little claws.

Of course, this freaks the kids out and they send Katy falling into her tank.

After the first few days, Katy seems to spend lots of time in her hideout.

No one saw her out for a few days and I began to think about ways to dispose of her body, assuming the worst has happened.

One day I prepare my daughter for Katy’s demise. I take her hideout rock from the tank and check for movement.

I don’t see any and attempt to pry her out of the rock.

That’s when her little claws get busy proving me wrong.

Since that near death moment, Katy’s been a bit more “social,” coming out of her hideout more often and proving that she is in fact alive and well.

We still do daily welfare checks on her just to make sure, however.

The kids enjoy watching her and are still helping out with the feeding.

I’m not sure how long this science lesson will last, but it seems everyone in our family has learned a bit more because of it.