This week marks the genesis of a new and exciting project. After all that we have been through in the last year I feel it is more important than ever that we find ways of establishing and maintaining a peaceful state of mind/good physical health. I have been a keen hobbyist for many years and, being a science teacher, I am lucky that one of my hobbies ties into much of the science curriculum (and beyond). With the support of our Head of science, Mr Jones, we have been able to keep an area in my laboratory dedicated to a large aquarium.
Following the uncertainty of the last year and multiple lockdowns, we have finally resumed our Tropical Fish club and have successfully recruited some keen year 8 pupils to carry out an exciting project!
We also have the benefit of having Mr A. Short with us who has a background in Zoology and has studied animal behaviour to Masters level. His experience and expert insight will be invaluable in this journey and we are very lucky to have him with us.
Some fairly recent research has been carried out where scientists have been able to verify some of the positive benefits of watching an underwater world. Scientists from the University of Plymouth found that viewing aquarium displays led to noticeable reductions in blood pressure and heart rate. This offers us some fairly tangible evidence about the positive impact keeping an aquarium can have on our well-being.  
Our aim is to establish and maintain a healthy and vibrant home for tropical fish and plants. We have some basic equipment as pictured below and you can see we are starting with a near blank canvas.
As we progress throughout the coming weeks we will learn how to safely shape this mini-ecosystem. We will not only discuss and learn about the scientific aspects involved, but also consider the design and visual flow of our Aquascape. This project will offer pupils a creative outlet and link science with engineering, art and design (see the MIT Krebs Cycle of creativity ).
I have also attached a part of our plan for the coming weeks (1st 6 sessions) so that you can see how we aim to progress. Thank you for taking the time to read this introduction. We look forward to bringing you more updates.
PS If you would like to get in-touch, my email address is: DBansal@Handsworth.bham.sch.uk