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Classroom Aquaponics

Proposal

Aquaponics in the Classroom

The Aquaponics Garden

www.theaquaponicsgarden.com [email protected] 910-232-7704

Long-term Goal

Engage students in fun hand-on experience growing, harvesting and managing an Aquaponics Garden; Allow students to experiment and learn the future of backyard gardening Provide food education for students. The underlying belief is that by introducing the Aquaponics approach, we have a chance to positively influence students food choices in ways that have not been tried before. Helps to develop math and science skills Become proficient in understanding, reasoning and problem solving skills. Engage students in practical science Demonstrates a sustainable model to the school and local community Teaches eco-friendly food and aquaculture production

Suggested Implementation

Build a self sustaining school garden with full student population input and day to day care Provide quality chemical and pesticide free produce and fish for students and teachers to enjoy Expand the system to be able to sell produce at the local market Provide food education to students and influence students food choices Provide an ongoing educational project that has full interaction for all ages

Aquaponics:The Basics

It's a mini eco-system The fish supply the nutrients for the vegetables, the bacteria and plants clean the water It's a combination of Aquaculture (growing fish) and Hydroponics (growing in nutrient water) Combining the two help cancel out the negative aspects of each of them What are the advantages? Vegetable production is much faster than dirt gardening Uses about 90% less water as apposed to gardening in the dirt You get edible fish as well as vegetables Totally scalable ; Home and school-sized to large commercial systems can be built Operating costs are extremely low

Aquaponics Technology

Can be low tech and easy to build Easily expandable to produce more fish and produce Aerobic bacteria convert the fish waste to nitrates for the plants Fish feed, seeds, top up water and electricity are the only inputs the system needs A balanced system will run for years without water changes or cleaning of the grow beds or fish tank Only organic methods are used for pest control

The Nitrification Process

It's a simple process, fish live in the water and excrete ammonia, via fish effluent which is pumped into the grow beds that contain the plants and good aerobic bacteria The natural bacteria convert the ammonia into nitrites and nitrates The plants take up the nitrates and flourish with an ample supply of nutrients The water is then returned to the fish tank clean and ready for the next cycle Aquaponics mimics nature; the bacteria are naturally found everywhere in our streams, lakes, ponds, dams, and aquariums

Why Aquaponics Works

What grows in Aquaponics?

Almost anything!!!!!!!!

School and Student Benefits

Hands on learning, discovering the biodiversity in a closed bio-system Teach students not to be dependent on processed foods and to promote better food choices Students will discover the relationship between gardens and the dinner table Develop an appreciation of new flavors and textures, experience fresh seasonal food Understand environmental issues such as water management, seed-saving, organic pest control and harvesting different crops Build students, families and local communities pride in their school Be recognized as a valuable contributor to educational innovation Build internal and external community networks Provide a new opportunity for students, parents, and families to discuss and learn about Aquaponics, which is the future of back yard gardening

What's Next?

The next step is to apply for funding for your class Ongoing costs can be handled by selling organic produce Now is the time to install your starter Aquaponics system A system will benefit numerous students for years to come

Initial Costs Breakdown

2 bed base instructional system Bluegill fingerlings River rock for grow beds Fish food (high protein pellets) Seeds (free from seed savers) Freshwater testing kit

$950.00 $ 4.00 $ 33.00 $ 10.00 (initially) $ 0.00 $ 25.00

Ongoing costs are minimal; electricity, top up water fish food

Possible School Curriculum - 1

HOME ECONOMICS Healthy Schools ­ Preparing organic food from the aquaponics system, research the nutritional information on various foods. Explore various ways of preparing the produce from the system

MATH AND BUSINESS Explore selling and the market (get the students involved), Monitor, record and chart the running costs of an established system, compare this to the market value of the produce at the local food store and use this to determine if the system is making a profit or a loss

Possible School Curriculum - 2

Calculate the volume of tanks and surface area, figure out the ratios of grow bed area to fish population Calculate the projected market value of the produce harvested Use all this data to calculate how long it would take to break even and run a profit. SCIENCE The Nitrogen Cycle: All grades can participate What is PH?: Focus on how the PH affects the system Seeds: Keep records on growth rates

Possible School Curriculum - 3

Plants: Propagation of plants ­ through seed and vegetative reproduction, study the life cycle of the plants, while visually monitoring all aspects of growth Life cycle: Study the growth and habits of the edible fish from fingerling to harvest Flow diagrams: Set up flow charts on how the system works, why things work the way they do Adaptions: What adaptations do plants need to do to live without dirt? What makes them have the ability to survive

Possible School Curriculum - 4

Research: The fish and plants and create a poster depicting all the facts, like the origin, Latin name, life cycle including the reproductive mechanisms Create a siphon to find out how it works without any moving parts Research the aerobic bacterias' part in the Aquaponics system Find all natural items to enhance the plants and their growth Finally, have the students do an essay paper on what they have learned about all aspects of Aquaponics

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Introducing a New Product

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