WHAT IS AUSTRALIAN STEM EDUCATION
STEM education is based on blending Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. This form of education and learning allows Australian students to integrate subjects that are usually taught separately. This teaches students skills that apply to real-world problem-solving. STEM ensures students develop dynamic thinking, problem solving and creativity in preparation for a tech-driven era. Urban Green Farms are dedicated to providing educational access to Aquaponics and Hydroponics in a way that meets the needs of every Australian school and education facility. The application of Aquaponics and Hydroponics in Australian Schools means that students are met with innovative methods to explore STEM studies.
Why is Stem important to Australian Schools?
Science, technology, engineering and mathematics will continue to play a key role in the growth and stability of the Australian and global economy. The future of the planet will need to rely on innovation driven by STEM. STEM education creates critical thinkers, increases science literacy, and enables the next generation of innovators to help solve problems.
Our team at Urban Green Farms are passionate about creating a solution to our soaring demand for food. As the human population grows, we will need to produce more food in the next 50 years than in the last 1500 years. But, more importantly, we need food production that is sustainable, efficient, chemical-free and grows quickly. Our Aquaponic and Hydroponic STEM learning programs give our future generations the knowledge and tools to create a healthy and sustainable food production system.
HOW IS STEM EDUCATION APPLIED TO HYDROPONICS?
Hydroponics is also a natural fit to Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths.
Hydroponics, a method of growing plants using nutrient-enriched water without soil, offers a gardening alternative that is not tied to external space and the growing season and can be conducted indoors year-round. Although there are many versions of hydroponics systems, most include a structure for holding the plants, a reservoir of water containing nutrients, a method for getting the water to the plants, and a light system. As such, students can be engaged in learning and applying concepts from chemistry, physics, and biology while conducting research investigations by changing variables (i.e., the time the lights are on) and observing the impact on plant growth.
A major advantage of classroom-based hydroponics in Australian Schools is that there are a wide variety of possible systems, and the systems can easily be adapted to fit the space, resources, and needs of specific settings. Our systems are designed as a result of meetings with teachers who wanted the systems to be (1) small, (2) easily moved, and (3) capable of fitting in the trunk of a car. With those design constraints in mind, we designed a set of hydroponic systems that teachers could use in their classrooms. Seeding the Future.
HOW IS STEM EDUCATION APPLIED TO AQUAPONICS?
Aquaponics is a natural fit for the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) classroom, providing hands-on, practical, and integrative learning opportunities for students (and teachers)! It’s no wonder so many Australian educators and teachers are looking for and finding great ways to integrate Aquaponics into their classrooms. Here in Melbourne, Australia we have worked to develop a curriculum that meets Accara Standards and beyond. We have also developed our Aquaponics curriculum to foster 21st-century learning skills, such as an interest in STEM, perseverance, critical thinking, peer-to-peer interaction, and peer-to-adult interaction. Students who receive a successful Aquaponics curriculum gain invaluable experience that will prepare them for the future in a way that traditional classroom curriculum does not.
Aquaponics presents a safe environment for continuous learning where students practice managing an ecosystem that is always changing. Practicing Aquaponics forces students to solve problems and make critical decisions that will result in consequences that will impact themselves and others. Students are able to address any failure and try again stimulating leadership and team skills development as well as perseverance. Students also are learning technical skills that will be relevant as the emerging aquaponics industry continues to be a critical solution to feeding a growing population globally. We have observed that growers are able to learn and practice business skills as well as feed their community with the healthiest of foods by selling their produce.
Because of the nature of Aquaponics being a living ecosystem, we have observed that nurturing a living ecosystem also simulates a therapeutic environment for growers of all learning styles as well as learning differences. When students of all ages grow their own food, it stimulates healthy eating habits which promotes the healing and prevention of the most common health ailments that plague our society.