Gifted Education Teacher
MMS/SHS Challenge Programs
Montevideo has successfully installed our Aquaponics Adventure system! This has been a two-year process, with REFI grants for both Cub Run and Montevideo needed to develop the working environment.
MMS Challenge students in 2015 worked on system models, and sized the necessary pumps, batteries, and solar panels needed for a successful installation. MMS Agriculture students in 2015 and 2016 have worked with prototypes for plant growth, and are working with Mr. Wanger on optimizing our new system.
Why Aquaponics? In systems using just aquaculture, it is necessary to dispose of nutrient rich water, and replace clean water for aqua health. Likewise hydroponic systems require the addition of expensive nutrients, as well as an additional waste disposal process. By circulating systems together, Aquaponics better distributes nutrients and eliminates the need for flushing. Nitrosomonsa bacteria in the floating bed digests ammonia and nitrite from the fish water, and creates nitrates to feed the plants. Water is filtered through porous media and passes through the roots of the plants in order to return fresh water to the fish tank. We are then able to cultivate fresh fish and vegetables in an inexpensive, clean environment.
Montevideo Agriculture, Challenge, and STEM Lab students have been learning about the working system over the past two weeks, and how energy, time, and money can be saved. Students from Spotswood High School were kind enough to share information about their smaller-scale Aquaponics project for Massanutten Regional Governor's School. Their challenges offered good information for us to improve upon the design.
Cub Run 4th graders will be visiting on June 1st to learn about the system, and to develop plans for their involvement next school year. I am copying you in case you want me to forward any pictures for the RCPS website, or if you are interested in further information.
NEXT school year: Fourth graders plant new plants, and use plant life for dissection and analysis. Middle school students monitor temperature, Ph, growth, and solar energy activity, while tracking data through graphs. MMS plans for developing guttering slats, customized tables, and the installation of the solar panel system (materials already purchased). And maybe even a faculty salad bar supplied by our Aquaponics Adventure?
Please enjoy the photos below. I encourage you to visit the Aquaponics system in Mr. Wanger's shop, and take a look at what's growing!