Aquaponics system brings hands-on learning experience for Lansing High School students through grant
Mr. Brian Malm at Lansing High School is using aquaponics in his classroom to teach hands-on STEM concepts, as well as sustainable technologies and alternative ways of growing food.
For those unfamiliar with aquaponics, according to theaquaponicsource.com, it “is the combination of aquaculture (raising fish) and hydronics (the soil-less growing of plants) that grows fish and plants together in one integrated system. The fish waste provides an organic food source for the plants, and the plants naturally filter the water for the fish.” For more information, visit https://www.theaquaponicsource.com/what-is-aquaponics/.
Mr. Malm received a $5,000 grant through Lansing Educational Foundation from ONEGas, Inc. to install the aquaponics system this past fall. His students have since been maintaining the 200 gallon tank. Once the system was ready, they stocked the tank with tilapia and have now started the process of germinating the seeds that will grow in the media beds. They will be growing basil, lettuce, potatoes, and bush beans.
The biology classes are also working with Mrs. Stephanie Merritt and the students in Lansing High School's culinary department to start a farm to table pilot program. Once the fish and food are ready to be harvested, the science students will provide the tilapia and vegetables to the culinary department to prepare and serve. The students are excited for the opportunity to see their work come full circle.
Mr. Malm has spoken with Lansing Parks and Recreation department about possibly breeding fish such as walleye for Lansing ponds, to bring angler fishermen and boost ecotourism in the Lansing area. He is also looking at ways to develop the program so that his classes can provide plants for the district, possibly even having a Mother’s Day bedding plant sale.
Mr. Malm is excited about the future possibilities for the aquaponics system, "I would like to see the program grow in interest for students and then scaffold out. In the long term, I would love to see our students look at different aspects of agriculture and how we can incorporate that in the class. In addition, I would like to see a way in which we could involve the community in our program."
We are all looking forward to seeing the results of the efforts of the science classes - great job Mr. Malm and students!