Aquaponics System

The students of the Green Makerspace Club have been hard at work, building and maintaining their very own classroom aquaponics system. What is an aquaponics system? It is a system in which to grow plants combining aspects of aquaculture with hydroponics. In other words, it is a system that relies on the waste water from fish to hydrate and provide nutrients for a collection of plants. At Camdenís Promise Charter School, the aquaponics system is home to a variety of vegetables and several goldfish. Its purpose is to educate students on aspects of engineering, gardening, and animal husbandry. Students are also encouraged to take ownership of their nutrition and grow fresh edibles that they can eat whenever they want.

After months of design and development, the aquaponics system came online in February 2018. Starting with a packet of wheat grass seeds, students were able to successfully grow a plethora of wheat grass to then use in smoothies and other healthy green drinks. Since then, they have tried other plants including: marigolds and tomato seeds, the top of a pineapple, and the heels of celery, bok choy, and scallions. What once started as a set of wheeled shelving and some PVC pipes has turned into a lush indoor aquaponics garden providing the students of the Green Makerspace Club something to look forward to during their afterschool program.

The aquaponics system was so successful that the Green Makerspace Club entered it into the 2018 New Jersey Steam Tank Challenge. For this state-wide competition, a team of four club members was selected to represent the group and their aquaponics system. During the shark-tank style competition, the team put together a slide show presentation and pitched their idea to a panel of judges as to why their aquaponics system would help to solve the food desert program in Camden, New Jersey. The team made it through the regional competition and went on to become finalists, presenting at the New Jersey Education Associationís Convention in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Subaru recently visited the youth working on aquaponics and shared this video with us, click here to watch.