Aquaponics, as a discipline, completely encompasses the Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) acronym that is the foundation for the Upward Bound Program. Due to the multi-faceted nature of these agricultural systems, aquaponics provides opportunities for dynamic lesson planning in educational institutions. Aquaponic systems require understanding of plant and animal biology, employ remote monitoring technologies that speak to smart phones, utilize both mechanical and agricultural engineering principles, and require simple math for everyday tasks. When I sat down and thought about it, aquaponics nearly perfectly embodies STEM.
We considered the course timeline and existing infrastructure within their greenhouse and provided Upward Bound with two small demonstration hydroponic systems as well as our AP-1 Aquaponic Starter System. The demonstration systems are commercial grade, and can easily be expanded to encompass a larger footprint as the program grows. Not only did the students learn aquaponics basics, they showed me that there are a myriad of teaching opportunities in both a classroom and lab setting while providing the added benefit of producing food on a college campus!
Through Southeastern’s Upward Bound Program we hope to continue teaching, conducting workshops, and providing vitally important training for an industry that is rapidly growing worldwide.