Grade 3 & 4

Did you know you can grow plants without soil?  It is possible. Wylder Moriarty, a 5th-grade student, chose to study aquaponics for his passion project this year.  This topic fits right in with our 3rd and 4th-grade science standards, so we are partnering with him on learning how to grow vegetables using hydroponics and aquaponics.  Hydroponics is the science of growing plants in water without soil. Aquaponics is the same as hydroponics but adds living creatures, such as crayfish, fish, or other living creatures to the system.  

Mr. Tim Ciembronowicz is letting our class borrow a hydroponics tank that he built.  He came in this week to show us how to get it up and running. We have Sungold tomatoes and green peppers growing in the tank right now!

The tank drains and floods every few minutes.  Water cycles through pipes between a tank on top for the plants and a tank on the bottom for the creatures.  The plants are growing in clay pellets that give support for their roots. The creature’s waste will provide nutrients for the plants.  We will soon be adding crayfish as the creatures to the tank.

The reason we are learning about aquaponics is that it’s a growing industry in Wisconsin.  It provides a way to grow plants year round. It makes gardening easier because you don’t have to water the plants every day, you don’t need rich soil, and it can be done in most climates.

We are hoping to be able to harvest tomatoes and peppers from this project.  It may lead to bigger aquaponic activities in the future. Thank you to Mr. Ciembronowicz for sharing his knowledge and time to inspire our learning.  The aquaponics tank will be on display in our classroom during the Passion Project Fair on May 16th.