If you get yabbies very small, only just visible, and keep them for the term, you will see quite a measurable growth rate. Once they are older juveniles or adults, they grow at a much slower rate which is not that measurable in a school situation.
For food, we use a ‘sinking’ pellet rather than a ‘floating’ pellet which we find to be more accessible for them, but some do prefer the floating type. Also you can get pellets from pet shops.
Keep them in a filtered tank with plenty of places to hide eg. PVC pipes or shade-cloth placed in the tank in a bunch so they can hide. They tend to eat each other.
Here is a website which covers setting up, feeding, handling, disease management and so on:

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