Matt Gallon

Matt's grant was used to build a living model of an Amazonian freshwater ecosystem for the Middle School science classroom. Known as a biotope tank, the proposed model consists of a relatively large aquarium (120 gallons) that replicates a portion of a unique ecosystem, including the specific fish, invertebrates, plants, sediments, and water conditions found in that location.

Modeling a portion of this ecosystem in the science classroom with real life examples will enhance formal science labs as well as informal discussions surrounding environmental equity and conservation. Accurate and engaging models provide an invaluable tool in the science classroom. Students are able to directly observe complex phenomena and engage with them on a personal and experiential level. The Amazonian biotope aquarium will allow students to make first-hand observations of a living ecosystem that they otherwise will not have access to. Students are able to sample and directly observe freshwater ecosystems in the greater Boston area during field trips, but the addition of the Amazonian aquarium will enable students to compare their local freshwater ecosystem to one in the Amazon on an almost daily basis. In doing so, students will develop a deeper awareness of the Amazon region and the many challenges it faces.

Click here to read the results of his Innovation Grant.
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