Third- through fifth-grade students at F.E. Bellows Elementary School took on the roles of scientists as they examined marine wildlife and performed a variety of experiments during a visit from Marine Education Center naturalist Kyle Troy on Feb. 14.

Troy brought in living creatures from the Long Island Sound to educate the students about the different habitat and introduce them to basic environmental science concepts.

“The students learned about the hardiness of sea stars, horseshoe crabs, spider crabs, sea urchins, whelks and hermit crabs,” fifth-grade math and science teacher Nicole Pelosi said. “They talked about the impact from factories and industries upstream and how it affects the fish population.”

The naturalist’s visit coincided with the students’ study of water and the environmental impacts from humans. They’ve been examining the concepts during their Earth Action Team co-curricular enrichment program, which is part of the district’s Schoolwide Enrichment Model and F.E. Bellows’ Seekers and Solvers STEAM (science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics) workshops.

Throughout the Earth Action Team program, the students engaged in a variety of hands-on activities. They collected and tested rainwater and samples from the school’s water fountains and sinks. They also performed experiments to demonstrate how surface tension affects the water’s ability to “stick” to itself and surfaces. In addition, they made models of boats and proposed ways to make them more environmentally friendly.