Donner Trail Elementary students featured on NPR’s Science Friday

Special to the Sun
Mrs. Reed’s K-1 class at Donner Trail Elementary was thrilled to be featured on NPR.
Courtesy Megan Seifert |

KINGVALE, Calif. — Mrs. Reed’s K-1 class at Donner Trail Elementary in Kingvale has been working with several different nonprofits this spring to raise Lahontan Cutthroat Trout in their classroom.

Lahontan Cutthroat trout are native to only a few rivers and lakes in Western Nevada and the Lake Tahoe region of California and are classified as “Threatened” under the Federal Endangered Species Act.

The trout eggs were provided by the Trout in the Classroom project and SWEP. The students received 150 trout eggs on April 19 and have watched the eggs develop into Alevi (meaning they are getting fins and mouths) then into Fry (meaning they can now swim and eat on their own).

The trout all reached the Fry stage a couple weeks ago and they were released into the nearby Donner Creek at Donner Memorial State Park in Truckee.

Headwaters Science Institute, a local science education nonprofit, is helping these students ask and answer their own questions about the trout.

Students were interested in a number of complex questions about the trout, realizing that they are able to learn about Lahontan trout in general by studying this small sample within their classroom.

Students were working hard on their projects because they were submitting it to NPR’s Science Friday #takeasample project. They were challenging people to take a sample of something to learn more about it. The Donner Trail Students were learning more about Trout by studying them in their early stages.

Mrs. Reeds K-1 class at Donner Trail was excited when their project was featured on the Science Friday website on May 13. They were even more excited when they got to hear themselves live on the air on May 13 during class. Visit to listen.

To learn more about their projects, check out their great video on the Headwaters Science Institute website at, under “blog.”

This research process allowed the students to meet all eight of the new Next Generation Science Standards Practices. California adopted the new NGSS and now the teachers need to make sure the students are able to meet all the areas of these new standards. Headwaters does custom programs that allows any science class to be able to meet the practice standards and content standards of the NGSS.

Headwaters Science Institute would like to thank the Truckee Airport District and the Truckee Rotary for supporting this project.

This article was provided on behalf of Donner Trail Elementary and Headwaters Science Institute. Headwaters has worked with other classes in the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District and has taught professional development workshops for teachers in the district as well. Visit to learn more.

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