Welcome to the Aquaponics Lab. Aquaponics is a closed loop sustainable food production system with 3 components (Fish, Bacteria, and Plants).
-The fish produce ammonia as a waste product that is pumped in to plant bedding and bio filter.
-The bacteria in the plant bedding and bio filter convert the ammonia waste product from the fish into nitrates.
-The plants use the nitrates converted by the bacteria as fertilizer and remove it from water and leaving clean water for the fish.
Currently, the plant beds contain a variety of plants. There strawberries, asparagus, tomatoes, lettuce, squash and peppers to name a few. The fish tanks are currently hosting Tilapia and hybrid sunfish.
The aquaponics lab will allow 5th grade students to study systems and how living organisms and systems. They will have opportunities to explore and observe how organisms use their structures to meet their needs. Students will also be able to explore natural systems and how removing or changing a part can affect the whole system. 5th graders will also be able to investigate different variables that affect plant grow such as water, light, grow medium and temperature. 3rd graders will be able to observe and investigate the functions of different structures organisms have. This system will also allow students to grow plants year round. Each classroom in grades 3-5 will have their own plant grow bed to monitor, explore, plant and harvest.
5th graders also build mini aquaponic systems in groups of 3 out of 20 gallon aquariums. These small systems will enable students to be come experts on the system and how all the parts work. The tanks will have goldfish and the plant beds will have peppers, sun flowers or lettuce. When students understand the mini systems, they will be dismantled and set up in the primary classrooms. The students will help the primary students with the systems as they learn about the live organisms in them.
Crossroads' Aquaponics Lab was designed and installed by our partner Spark-Y, Youth Action Labs. It was funded by grants from Ecolab Foundation, Whole Kids Foundation, and the Lillian Wright and C. Emil Berglund Foundation.
The aquaponics system is mostly from Science. It is connected to Engineering with the mini systems because students work out how to construct them and make sure all the parts in the system are working. The connection to digital Technology is through using digital probes to monitor temperature and pH with an iPad, organizing data and researching aquaponics. The Mathematics connect is through data collection and analysis.
Aquaponic System Fish Tanks
Ms. Jess working with a student on the mini systems