Spotlight on STEM

Posted on 06/03/2019
Stem Club members

The  Trout have been released!  Ms. Berthelot went to Hibernia Brook to release the trout that the STEM Club raised this year.  She made a video to show the progress of the trout throughout the year.

Click here to view the video:

The West Essex Stem club, under the advisement of Ms. Andrea Berthelot,  is raising trout with the NJ Trout in the Classroom program. The Program is run by the Pequest Trout Hatchery and Natural Resource Education Center.


The program: (from the NJ website)

Trout in the Classroom (TIC) is a science-based program that teaches children about the importance of coldwater conservation through a hands-on approach to learning. Through the process of raising trout from eggs, provided by the Pequest Trout Hatchery, to fingerling size for release, students learn about the importance of clean, cold water, not only for the trout they are raising, but also for the other organisms, including people.


The TIC program is cross-curricular and can encompass many subject areas such as science, math, art, language arts, reading, technology, music and more. While the activities associated with the program are geared towards middle school aged students, schools from Kindergarten through college levels are using the same materials. Tanks must be set up in a mainstream school, where children can interact with the fish daily and where no fee is charged for the program.

This program is supported with a partnership between the Division of Fish and Wildlife and Trout Unlimited in New Jersey.


West Essex STEM Club:

The club received about 100 eggs this past October from the Hatchery.  They have lost about 30 but the rest are thriving. Students are responsible for cleaning the tanks, testing and maintaining the water in the tank, feeding and documenting changes.  Each member signs up for a task and they rotate as needed. West Essex was the only school district that was able to release trout two years ago. The club is hoping to do the same this year. So far ours are thriving.  We have lost about 30 but still have many left. The students teach other students how to care for the fish and the tanks so that the program can go on next year. Stay tuned for the launch date!


The trout project has taken up most of the clubs time but they are working on other projects throughout the school.

Stem club is also working on garden plans for growing vegetables.  They need to apply for a grant and are working with Ms. Berthelot, Ms. Tamburri and Mr. Diliberto to get this done. Students would like to start with growing herbs and hope to work with with the Tower Garden program, that was introduced by Pomptonian Foods, and with our cooking classes to use the herbs in there classes.  To begin the garden students would start the plants in an indoor greenhouse. Students are hoping to get this project off the ground this year. There is a space designated in the lunchroom courtyard. The area is bricked off from the rest of the court yard and would be maintained by the stem club. There are plans for a mural on the brick wall as well.

The club is currently working on a water-bottle holiday decoration display.  They have collected water bottles from the school and are planning on a “grand” holiday display.

There are currently about 20 active Stem Club members.

Stem Club members present in photo:

Greg Covello, Ethan Zinn, Genevieve Gustafson, Sophia Wissert, Ava Buccino, Meghan Cheung,Chris Duthie, Emma Saccone, Ms. Berthelot