Third, fourth and fifth graders at Peterson Elementary were treated to a first-hand lesson in marine biology Tuesday, when a local biologist conducted a salmon shark dissection.
“What do you think we’re going to find in its stomach?” biologist Bob Foy asked the congregation of children.
Among the suggestions was pollock, to which Foy replied, “Correct!”
Foy, the laboratory director at the Kodiak Fisheries Research Center, went on to explain the shark’s physical traits and how they’re beneficial to the animal before beginning the dissection by slicing off the fin.
The teacher responsible for the science lesson was John Malloy, who’s been teaching fourth grade at Peterson for one year. Prior to that, he taught at East Elementary for 14 years. Malloy explained that it took about a month and a half to organize the event and that he had asked Foy specifically to bring in a salmon shark.
“I called him out here because we’re doing a large unit on salmon and their predators,” Malloy said. “I’ve done this before when I was a teacher at East Elementary and the kids love it. It really gets them into science.”
By the time Foy was finished, the children had been shown almost the full anatomy of the shark, inside and out.