Aquaponics USA

STEM Resources

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STEM Food Growing Systems integrate Plant and Fish Biology with Chemistry, Math and Engineering. It's STEM Education that actually deals with stems.

Bringing Ecosystems, like Aquaponics STEM Food Growing Systems, into Classrooms is just one indicaiton that teaching Science in 2016 America has changed drastically, and it keeps on changing. This page is all about helping Teachers keep up with what's happening.

The first thing we have to discuss is "A Framework for K-12 Science Education", which was released by the National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academy of Sciences in July of 2011. "The Framework provides a sound, evidence-based foundation for standards by drawing on current scientific research—including research on the ways students learn science effectively—and identifies the science all K–12 students should know.

To undertake this effort, the NRC convened a committee of 18 individuals who are nationally and internationally known in their respective fields. The committee included practicing scientists, including two Nobel laureates, cognitive scientists, science education researchers, and science education standards and policy experts. In addition, the NRC used four design teams to develop the Framework. These four design teams, in physical science, life science, earth/space science, and engineering, developed the Framework sections for their respective disciplinary area.

After releasing a public draft in July of 2010, the NRC reviewed comments and considered all feedback prior to releasing the final Framework. The Framework is now being used as the foundation for the Next Generation Science Standards in a collaborative, state-led process that is managed by Achieve.

Achieve "is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit education reform organization dedicated to working with states to raise academic standards and graduation requirements, improve assessments, and strengthen accountability. Created in 1996 by a bipartisan group of governors and business leaders, Achieve is leading the effort to make college and career readiness a priority across the country so that students graduating from high school are academically prepared for postsecondary success. When states want to collaborate on education policy or practice, they come to Achieve. At the direction of 48 states, and partnering with the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, Achieve helped develop the Common Core State Standards." (Quote taken from the Achieve website Overview Page).

This Framework does just what it says. As stated in the Summary: "The overarching goal of our framework for K-12 science education is to ensure that by the end of 12th grade, all students have some appreciation of the beauty and wonder of science; possess sufficient knowledge of science and engineering to engage in public discussions on related issues; are careful consumers of scientific and technological information related to their everyday lives; are able to continue to learn about science outside school; and have the skills to enter careers of their choice, including (but not lim- ited to) careers in science, engineering, and technology."

"Currently, K-12 science education in the United States fails to achieve these outcomes, in part because it is not organized systematically across multiple years of school, emphasizes discrete facts with a focus on breadth over depth, and does not provide students with engaging opportunities to experience how science is actually done. The framework is designed to directly address and overcome these weaknesses."  Read "A Framework for K-12 Science Educaiton".

The statement in the Summary of the Framework above that says current K-12 science education "does not provide students with engaging opportunities to experience how science is actually done" is one reason that Aquaponics STEM Food Growing Systems are showing up in classrooms across the country.

But a Framework does not make for a completed project. None of us would want to live in a house that only had framework. The "Framework for K-12 Science Eduction was only the beginning. Next came the "Guide to Implementing the Next Generation Science Standards".

As stated in the Introduction: "A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas (National Research Council, 2012; hereafter referred to as “the Framework”) and the Next Generation Science Standards: For States,

By States (NGSS Lead States, 2013) describe a new vision for science learning and teaching that is catalyzing improvements in science classrooms across the United States."


"The report is intended primarily for district and school leaders and teachers in charge of developing a plan and implementing the NGSS."


"The Framework and the NGSS offer a vision of science classrooms where students learn the core ideas and crosscutting concepts of science through engagement in the practices of science and engineering. The nature of instruction required to effectively support the new standards will require changes in many classrooms."


Read the "Guide To Implementing The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)".

Again, the statement "The Framework and the NGSS offer a vision of science classrooms where students learn core ideas and crosscutting concepts of science through engagement in the practices of science and engineering" explains why Aquaponics STEM Food Growing Systems, which are a living ecosystem that demonstrates how a food growing technology works and offers hands-on experience with that technolgy, are finding their way into U.S. classrooms in great numbers.

"NGSS is a multi-state effort to create new education standards that are 'rich in content and practice, arranged in a coherent manner across disciplines and grades to provide all students an internationally benchmarked science education.' They have three dimensions that are integrated in instruction at all levels. The first is core ideas, which consists of specific content and subject areas. The second is science and engineering practices. Students are expected not just to learn content but to understand the methods of scientists and engineers. The third is cross-cutting concepts: key underlying ideas that are common to a number of topics. The NGSS give equal emphasis to engineering design and to scientific inquiry."

"An important facet of the standards is that the teaching of content is integrated with the teaching of the practices of scientists and engineers. This is a change from traditional teaching, which typically either dealt with these topics separately or didn't attempt to teach practices. According to NGSS, it is through the integration of content and practice 'that science begins to make sense and allows students to apply the material.'" (Quotes taken from Wikipedia) Go to the Next Generation Science Standards website.

NGSS is still in the adoption and implementation phase. Even though 26 states were involved in the development of the NGSS, by Feb. of 2016, only 16 states had adopted them including: Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington, along with the District of Columbia (D.C.).

One of the reasons for the lag in the adoption of NGSS is there is no Federal money backing it. But it is plain to see that full adoption of NGSS will happen eventually so Teachers and Administrators need to get ready.

In May of 2010, the National Science Board put out this document called "Preparing The Next Generation Of STEM Innovators". It was a precursor to "A Framwork For K-12 Science Education" and "Guide To Implementing The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)".

This Introduction of this document describes STEM Innovators as "those individuals who have developed the expertise to become leading STEM professionals and perhaps the creators of significant breakthroughs or advances in scientific and technological understanding. Historical examples include Edison, Ford, Fleming, Pasteur, Einstein, and Curie. This report alternately refers to the children and young adults who have the most potential to become STEM innovators as 'talented and motivated' or 'high-ability' or 'gifted.' Their capabilities often include mathematical and spatial abilities alone or in combination with verbal aptitude, along with other factors such as creativity, leadership, self-motivation, and a diligent work ethic. In an increasingly technological society, innovation is frequently an interdisciplinary endeavor and many traditional non-STEM fields require scientific, spatial, and quantitative talents. Read "Preparing the Next Generation of STEM Innovators".

Below are more important Resources for STEM Educators and Innovators who are wanting to step into the new way to teach science, adopt Next Generation Science Standards and bring Aquaponics STEM Food Growing Systems into their Classrooms.

The Introduction of A.Q.U.A explains that "this curriculum for all grade levels offers educators and students the opportunity to experience how fun and productive it can be to learn science and other subjects through aquaculture. From the history of aquaculture (worldwide and in the Pacific), to step-by-step instructions on building, maintaining, and experimenting with a system at your school, this curriculum provides hands-on learning that encompasses a variety of subjects, including science, math, history, art, and more!

"Teachers of all different subjects and grade levels can use the AQUA curriculum to introduce aquaculture and aquaponics to their students. This simple, informal curriculum provides essential information on practicing aquaculture, as well as background information on many different aspects of the industry. It is meant to be a guide for teachers and home educators, complete with central concepts, activity ideas, and several worksheets. Activity ideas are broken down into the following groups: I (elementary), II (intermediate), and III (high school). Most of the activities are applicable or can be adapted to multiple grade levels." Read A.Q.U.A.

This is a Masters Thesis by Emily R. Hart. It was presented in 2013 and mentions our company as a company offering information on "Aquaponics In The Classroom".

Ms. Hart has written an informative and fascinating Thesis examining 10 Teachers whom we would consider to be early adopters of Aquaponics in their classrooms.

The Thesis examines their sucesses and their challenges and ultimately comes to the conclusion that they are all pleased with their decision to bring Aquaponics into their classrooms inspite of the challenges.

The beliefs and reasons for using aquaponics emerged as five main areas that have been titled: hands-on learning, flexible, food concepts, fun and STEM concepts. One teacher described his Aquaponics System as: "It’s just a great system that you can really integrate writing, math, science, really anything into it." Read "Implementation of Aquaponics in Education".

This Cornell website offers "Curriculum Resources for Inquiry-Based Learning". Their website explains that "These projects were developed by graduate and undergraduate students at Cornell University, collaborating with middle and high school teachers through the National Science Foundation's GK-12 Fellowship Program. We welcome feedback about your experiences using these ideas.

The website offers Resources for High School Science Projects in Biology, Chemistry, Earth Science, Environmental Science, Physics, Nature of Science and Social Science. It also offers Resources for Middle School Science Projects. Find these great Resources at the Cornell Science Inquiry Partnerships website.

Here's a STEM Curriculum Planning Guide targeted to 7th Graders specifically for Aquaponics from the Dayton Regional STEM Center.

The Dayton Regional STEM Center offers Science Saturdays, STEM Awards, and an Annual STEM Conference.  

This STEM Unit on Aquaponics is called "Fish-y Gardening". It's a detailed description of a Unit of study on Aquaponics with a STEM focus.

According to the Planning Guide, "This instructional design guide serves as the template for the design and development of STEM units of instruction at the Dayton Regional STEM Center in Dayton, Ohio. The guide is anchored to the STEM Education Quality Framework also developed at the Dayton Regional STEM Center.

Read the STEM Curriculum Planning Guide.

Thank you for visiting our STEM Resources Page. Don't forget to check out our "Aquaponics In The Classroom" and our "Where To Get an Aquaponics Grant" pages.

Visit our Aquaponics 101 seven Part Tutorial right here on our website. It will teach you everything you need to know to run, build and maintain a STEM Food Growing System.

Of course, if you purchase your STEM Food Growing System from us, you'll be off to a great start because it's guaranteed to work for many years to come.

You will meet a cartoon version of Oliver Duffy, our expert System Designer, a retired Aerospace Engineer who has written Aquaponics 101. He'll guide you through each of the 7 Parts, lead you to the Quizzes after each part and give you a Completion Certificate:

An Introduction

The Bio-Chemical Process, Introduction of the Nitrogen Cycle followed by The Nitrogen Cycle

The System Design

The System Design Continued

System Start Up, Operation and Maintenance

System Start Up, Operation and Maintenance Continued

Ratio of Fish to Water

Improving Water Quality

Start Aquaponics 101.