St Paul’s brings fun to STEM education by adopting eco-friendly Aquaponics & Hydroponics
A big part of what we do at Urban Green Farms is helping to educate the next generation on sustainability and the world of Aquaponics. The students in year 3 at St Pauls in Victoria adopted the Aquasprouts system into their environmental studies, with amazing results igniting classroom discussion, key learnings and a hands on approach to growing real food.
This shows how easy it is to implement into the school curriculum and classroom. Let's see how it went!
Students learnt all about the Aquasprouts, what it was and how it worked, they put it together as a team. They then let it sit. Unfortunately COVID hit and students had to return home.
Upon return students took their plants from the Urbipod – a smaller hydroponics system that they had used during online learning and planted these in the garden at school.
The students then focused on the Aquaponics tank. They replaced the water and tested the PH balance. It was too high. The students were not sure what to do but they did not want to put the class fish in there yet. They waited and tested again the following day. Great discussion was had about the water quality, drought, chemicals and the marine life itself. Having tested the water again, it was still a little high. The students discussed the use of chemicals to change the balance but then a student suggested that taking the water that the fish already swim in and placing that in the tank could work. The students tested this water first to see if that was a possibility. Sure enough the PH was appropriate. Having found a solution, the class transferred the water (or much of it), let it settle, and moved the fish over. The next day the students planted the peas and lettuce seedlings in the garden bed of the Aquasprouts unit.
As a means to test conventional vs Aquaponic farming, the students planted some seeds in a soil garden outside and inside in the Aquasprouts garden bed and made predictions about what they thought might happen. Students then fed the fish and left it alone. "As a teacher, this is the absolute best way to teach as it is hands on and real. Students can continue to pay attention in class because it is always in sight. Discussion is natural and interspersed throughout the day instead of only when scheduled. Because the fish were already in our class, it was interesting to listen to the conversations about the health of them as well as the opportunity to grow plants. Much discussion was had about the environment and how this process might be a good idea in regards to using our resources wisely. Front of mind, creates reasons to think".
This gave students the chance to witness the changes in the system and the plant growth itself. All this, in less than 3 weeks after planting!
What a great success story for the students at St Pauls, who have successfully integrated Aquaponics into their studies!