Toshiba American Foundation grant will fund hydroponics and aquaponics lab
Students at Overland High School will soon be growing plants without soil, “fish farming,” and studying complex systems that could someday impact world food supplies, thanks to a $10,000 grant from the Toshiba American Foundation (TAF). Grant funds will be used to establish the OHS Hydroponics and Aquaponics Laboratory.
“Hydroponics and aquaculture represent a science that is an increasingly important part of global food production,” said Jennifer Nass-Fukai, OHS science coordinator. “The fact that students can grow plants in an experiment that could become a part of a meal later is an added bonus. Hydroponics and other forms of indoor gardening make this healthy and interesting hobby accessible to anyone with a window.”
Hydroponics is a method of growing plants without soil by using mineral nutrient solutions. It has been used for many years to grow much of the produce that is available in our grocery stores. Aquaculture or “fish farming” facilities are being developed in many countries as a way of producing large quantities of affordable protein. Aquaculture also helps conserve wild resources and prevent over-fishing.
“It is “Aquaponics” that represents perhaps the most exciting opportunity for our students,” said Nass-Fukai, who is a 2011 winner of the Amgen Award for Science Teaching Excellence. “This field marries hydroponics with aquaculture to create complex systems in which food plants and fish are grown together. A balanced aquaponic system models exactly what goes on in a real-world wetland environment and offers unlimited opportunities for students to design high-level experiments.”
Overland High School has long emphasized STEM education for the opportunities it offers students in existing and yet-to-be developed industries and careers. The Overland campus is home to the Cherry Creek School District’s new Institute of Science and Technology, a state of the art facility that serves both Overland and Prairie Middle School students with a rich STEM curriculum.
The Toshiba American Foundation is dedicated to helping classroom teachers make mathematics and science learning fun and successful for students in U.S. schools. TAF grants fund the projects ideas and materials teachers need to innovate in their math and science classrooms. For more information, visit www.toshiba.com/taf