Students in Robert Abernathy’s science class recently had the chance to learn about different reptiles as part of the Simmons Discovery Lab. Photo by Katie Turpen.
Recently, a group of Simmons Middle School students got the chance to learn about a variety of fun creatures thanks to the efforts of one dedicated teacher and the Hoover City Schools Foundation (HCSF).
Three years ago, seventh-grade science teacher Robert Abernathy was awarded a $2,000 grant by the HCSF. In October, the efforts came to fruition with the Simmons Discovery Lab.
The Simmons Discovery Lab features a variety of exhibits including a desert, rain forest and saltwater habitat. Each exhibit houses creatures such as pythons, clownfish and crawfish. Several of the creatures were donated from local areas, and one of the aquarium tanks came all the way from the Caribbean. Abernathy said that the students have been active in taking care of the creatures, and some students even had the opportunity to take them home for a few days.
During the October presentation, students shared interesting facts about a particular creature they had been assigned to research. Interesting facts included that clownfish are born male but can change later in life to become the dominant female, and ball pythons can live around 30 years in captivity.
“This lab was a vision of mine when I applied for the grant several years ago,” Abernathy said. “It’s been exciting to see the children become so involved and excited about it.”
The Hoover City Schools Foundation is a nonprofit organization created to support Hoover City Schools through teacher grants, scholarships and programs designed to prepare students for successful future careers. For more, visit facebook.com/hoovercityschoolsfoundation.