Students at CREC Academy of Science and Innovation use Classroom Aquaponics with Jane Callery


Bored kids in a classroom
Bored kids in a classroom

Teachers and educators face often struggle to engage their students in meaningful with various subject matters. That challenge goes beyond students simply comprehending the material. In an ideal world, students are having fun as they learn. They engage in new topics and new ways of implementing their knowledge to gain insights and change the world for the better.

This leaves teachers with a tall order to fill. Some students simply learn things faster then others. While some benefit from hands on and visual learning others will prefer lectures and traditional note-taking. The challenge for teachers then is how to convert their classrooms into an environment where all students thrive. One where students engage with the various subject matters, and retain their knowledge past the testing on the subject.

Jane Callery has been teaching students at CREC Academy of Science and Innovation for years. Recently, she began using a classroom aquaponics system designed by Trifecta Ecosystems for over a year now. She sees her system as a great solution to varying levels of student engagement. Jane, a 6th grade science teacher, has been growing and using the system successfully as a teaching aid, and she recently expanded her aquaponics system with vertical growing towers and LED lights. This keeps her system on the cutting edge of aquaponics growing techniques. While it also provides her students with experience working with the latest technologies the industry has to offer. It’s a great experience in a growing field and industry. Yet even better than that, the kids are learning and loving it.

Students learning about pH with their Classroom Aquaponics System
Students learning about pH with their Classroom Aquaponics System

I have kids who come in every morning doing the water testing. It’s all student-generated, from the data collection to the feeding, cleaning, and keeping up with maintenance. The kids love it. They love it, love it.” – Jane Callery

With the addition of vertical growing towers, students can grow four times as many plants using only twice the space. All while continuing to use the original fish tank. The students will use scientific observation skills to measure plant growth. They experiment with different growing techniques (vertical towers versus their media beds) and see where each plant does better. They’ll be on the forefront of research in the industry and may even gain some insights for the commercial producers to take advantage of!

For us, that’s the magic. We’ve installed systems in over a dozen classrooms around the state, and every time we do, it’s the excitement and thrill from the students that let’s us know aquaponics is the ultimate classroom learning tool. This really is the classroom of the future, with so many applications for learning beyond just biology and chemistry.

We have teachers using these systems to teach math, engineering, entrepreneurship, physics and so much more. In each case it’s such a unique experience for the kids that the engagement is unlike anything teachers have experienced before. In fact, that was the most important metric for success with Jane. It was also a large reason why she expanded her system this year. There was no other classroom learning tool that engaged the students and made them this excited to learn as working with the aquaponics system.

“What’s most exciting for me is the student engagement. They’re just thrilled to death about having this, and they’ve taken it over. They have ownership over that whole system and what’s happening in it.

People in education talk about student discourse. When I have student teachers in the classroom, I tell them, “This is my favorite part of my job.” When I have kids talking about what they’re learning and other ways to make things better, with the Aquaponics system, for example, that’s how I know I’ve met my goal. They’re so excited about it.” – Jane Callery

Vertical Addition to our aquaponics system at CREC MPTPA in New Britain
Vertical Addition to our aquaponics system at CREC MPTPA in New Britain

We’re always inspired by Jane and the way she’s been able to integrate her system with all her lessons throughout the year. She gets engagement with all her students. While some like to be hands on with the testing others will like to take the data and analyze it. Still others like to measure plant and fish growth. At some point, everyone is involved with an aspect they like and that helps them stay excited about learning even as the lessons get more and more complex.

We’re on a mission to help other educators experience the same success we’ve seen from Jane and others around the state. Through our experiences with educators we know that it isn’t always simple for teachers to get the support they need. Especially for a classroom experience like this.

We kept hearing three things over and over again:

Time, Money, and Know-how.

Educators worry that classroom aquaponics is expensive. They think that it might take too much time to integrate into their class structure. While others have concern that they would need to become specialized experts just to maintain a classroom aquaponics system let alone structure lessons around one.

These are the three roadblocks keeping educators out of the colloquial Garden of Eden.

And they are serious concerns for any level educator!

         After all, who can commit to a project without knowing how much time it will require?

         How can you start a project if you don’t have all the money you need to do it?

Together these huge unknowns can block educators from one of the greatest teaching tools that they will now never use.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

There is a solution, and at Trifecta Ecosystems, we have the power to give it to you. (Just contact us us and let’s get started!)

students at CREC Academy of Science and Innovation love aquaponics
Enthusiastic students at CREC Academy of Science and Innovation asks a question about aquaponics

At Trifecta we care a lot about our students and giving them a good education. Which is why we do everything within our power to support educators and schools who share this passion.

We’re focusing on solving these problems.

Now that we have discovered the most common challenges educators face, we’re focusing on solving these challenges. Nothing should stop those who want to start a classroom aquaponics garden from doing so.

We think that the best thing that we can do for educators is to:
  • Give them an idea of what to expect
  • Break down the starting process into easy steps
  • Give them resources to help them write grants for funding, start with affordable programs, and provide them with examples and resources on how to use this tool for STEM education.

…and that’s exactly what we’ve done with the schools we are working with.

 

Engage and Enhance Classroom Learning with Aquaponics

This is just one example of the many helpful blog posts and resources we have available to educators on our blog and educators series.

Point being – we’ve got your back. We’re here for you, and there is no roadblock that we can’t conquer together – including funding and lesson planning.

So, if you want to start your own classroom aquaponics garden, click here.

Here’s to empowering yourself and your students!

 

 

 


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