Source: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Oblock Junior High School teacher Jason Steele wanted to give his students hands-on experience.
When he discovered 4th River Aquaponics in the Strip District and found out about a grant possibility for the concept, he decided to explore creating an aquaponics lab at Oblock as part of his technical education curriculum.
Aquaponics is the marriage of aquaculture (raising fish) and hydroponics (growing plants without soil) that grows fish and plants together in one system, Steele said.
The fish waste provides a food source for the plants, and the plants provide a natural filter for the water in which the fish live.
“It’s a cycle,” said Steele who, incorporated the program as part of the technical education curriculum in which students also have instruction in robotics, computer graphics and animation and advanced game maker…
Students in Steele’s class have been working throughout the first part of the school year in the aquaponics lab.
Steele said the students perform duties including growing the plants from seeds, measuring the pH levels in the water, maintaining the temperature of the water in which the bluegill fish are living, feeding the fish and measuring the oxygen levels in the water.
Steele said the students learn a variety of disciplines through the work they perform.
“This lab screams STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) because of the process,” Steele said.