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Wednesday, April 27 • 10:45am - 11:30am
STEM Breakout Session 2: Incorporating Engineering into School Gardening through Aquaponics and Hydroponics: Lessons from the Food for Learning Project

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In the 2011-2012 school year, the Healthy Classrooms Foundation provided funds to allow the Food for Learning Project to expand the Food for Learning school gardening programs by establishing indoor gardening using hydroponics and aquaponics to allow year-round growing seasons and to teach elementary students at the Kenosha School of Technology-Enhanced Curriculum (KTEC) about indoor sustainable gardening practices.  This project was very successful with the establishment of multiple hydroponic and aquaponic systems at KTEC.  This session will focus on how to establish a STEM indoor garden program through aquaponics and hydroponics.


More than 100 Carthage students from the Teacher Education Program have worked with teachers and students at KTEC developing their own knowledge of the science and sustainable gardening practices involved in establishing and maintaining hydroponic and aquaponic systems.  This has been an invaluable learning experience for these future teachers.  Carthage students have taught lessons and collaborated on designing poster displays with the students at KTEC to teach visitors and other students about the hydroponic systems and aquaponic systems.  Additionally, these systems created beautiful green spaces in the school buildings that were located so that all students in the school could see the plants being grown and harvested.  Staff, students, and parents at each school were interested and supportive in maintaining and learning about these indoor gardening systems.   Initially, we used commercial systems that were purchased with the HCF funds but we also begin building “home-made” systems with the support of staff at the Hydro Your Own, a newly established Kenosha store that sells hydroponic and aquaponic systems and supplies.  


We will detail step-by-step our process in establishing partnerships and share materials and lessons from several on-going collaborative projects including aquaponics, hydroponics, vermicomposting, and outdoor gardening.  The elementary and middle schools students are integrally involved in developing creative problem-solving skills, environmental and social literacy, ethical awareness and sensitivity for the relationship between humans and the environment and acting on their commitment to engage in individual and cooperative action. Our goal is to have this model-demonstration school demonstrating sustainable practices and environmental stewardship to the community.  These projects have been aligned with the NGSS and focus on how engineering and technology can support school gardening.


This program represents a new and powerful model for colleges and local agencies to collaborate with schools focusing on student-lead initiatives, whole-school commitment to creating a sustainable community by developing habits of conservation and practicing stewardship for the school and larger community.   We have invited other schools and community groups to each school campus to learn about their practices and see how to adapt them to their own sites and situations.   Our goal is that the College students will continue working with KTEC elementary and middle school students each year to not only develop their STEM knowledge base through the Food for Learning Project but also to develop their environmental literacy and their sense of stewardship to their community.


Prisca Moore

Carthage College
Dr. Prisca Moore, Professor of Education, at Carthage College works in partnership with several schools in the Kenosha Unified School District providing teaching experiences for Carthage students preparing to be teachers.  The focus of Dr. Moore's work has been to create Professional... Read More →

Wednesday April 27, 2016 10:45am - 11:30am CDT
Tundra F

Attendees (5)