Aquaponics in the Classroom:
Will Schools Make Aquaponics Mandatory Curriculum?
There has been a trend across the country in recent years. A simple Google News search for “aquaponics” highlights school system after school system implementing aquaponics programs in the classroom.
At Keystone Oaks High School in Pittsburg, environmental science teacher Maddie Key has transformed a neglected storage room into an aquaponics learning space. In it, the students are raising small mosquitofish in tanks. Herbs – such as basil, oregano, and chives – are fertilized with the waste matter of these fish. Exciting stuff? YES, says principle Keith Hartbauer.
“We’re ecstatic about what Maddie has done. She’s made learning relevant for a lot of kids who would have shut down otherwise. This group of kids seems to do really well with these types of activities.”
In Georgia, River Eves Elementary School has recently opened an aquaponics lab. This initiative broadens its experiential STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) lessons for all grades at the school.
“After a lengthy search for the right addition to our STEM curriculum, we’re excited to dedicate a classroom for aquaponics with turtles, bluegill, bass, and plants for experiments and study,” says Neil Pinnock, River Eves Elementary School Principal. “It’s equally exciting to kindergarteners through fifth graders and teachers to develop eco-awareness and additional problem-solving skills through aquaponics.”
So with teachers across the country finding value in this type of hand-on learning, how do we implement this educational teaching method across the country? If aquaponics in the classroom keeps students – with otherwise short attention spans – engaged and interested, why not replicated this on a larger scale?
Is aquaponics a solution to our nation’s educational shortcomings? Should it be mandatory in ALL school systems? Or will there simply be a select few school systems choosing to implementing aquaponics in the classroom? We hope more educators look to aquaponics for hands-on lessons which teach conservation and symbiotic ecosystem relationships.