Students in the Green Industries Grades 10 and 11 classes will have a unit focus on ecosystems, the environment, and sustainable living. We will scaffold learning in order to develop an aquaponics system. Students will learn how an aquaponics system works, how to build and maintain an aquaponic system. Students will see firsthand how the system reduces water waste, limits the use of chemical, pesticides and fertilizers on consumable crops, reducing their carbon footprint, while seeing the positive impact an aquaponics system can have.
The experiential learning from this unit is not limited to the classroom and may extend outside the school environment, peaking interest in future careers, environmental issues, hobbies, and businesses. Students have learned how to grow and care for crops in previous Green Industry classes and have demonstrated great interest in growing edible crops at home. Given that our school is in the inner city space is limited. Aquaponics is a great way for students to produce fruit and vegetable crops along with the know how to raise and harvest fish such as tilapia for a self-sustaining future.
Aquaponic systems in science classrooms can be invaluable education tools, allowing students to learn aquaculture, horticulture and sustainability. Hands-on activities provide students with an opportunity to experience what they are learning. Experiential learning opportunities with aquaponic systems lead to increased knowledge retention, promote positive behaviour change, and increase appreciation and awareness of fresh, locally grown food, which increases participation in local food systems and awareness of food security. Adults and youth exposed to educational activities using sustainable practices are more likely to adopt environmentally friendly practices and have greater appreciation and awareness for local food systems.
Students have built and are maintaining 4 aquaponic aquariums.
Reflection & Celebration
Students demonstrated critical thinking and problem-solving skills while working collaboratively on their aquaponics systems. They have become aware of the profound effect chemicals have on our food and our environment. They have gained a good understanding of how fertilizers and pesticides leech their way into the food we eat and the water we drink. They also learned that aquaponics is a sustainable way to grow plants and reduce water consumption.
Once the produce had grown and students tried lettuce from the aquaponics system vs the grocery store lettuce they were pleasantly surprised at the taste and tenderness of their own “home grown” produce.