First Primary School with Oceansing Aquaponics System
Since early 2017, Geylang Methodist School (Primary ) is the first primary school to have a commercial grade aquaponics ecosystem that can grow crops and fishes in their own school compound!
Currently, many schools in Singapore already have their own hydroponics systems. However, many such hydroponics systems are poorly taken care of and neglected due to the necessity to constantly dose essential nutrients and chemicals into the hydroponics system to sustain the growth of their crops. Without the constant dosing of such essential nutrients and chemicals, it will result in the malnutrition of crops and crops will turn yellow. In the long run, having to maintain a hydroponics system with constant dosage of nutrients and chemical can accumulate to a substantial amount which will create a financial burden on schools.
A customized aquaponics ecosystem that comprises an outdoor aquaponics system tapping on natural sunlight, an indoor aquaponics system using artificial grow lights and an indoor germination system to cultivate the required seedlings for indoor and outdoor growth will be setup within the school compound. The amazing fact about the aquaponics ecosystem is that it is a closed-loop re-circulating sustainable system that produces its own nutrients and purifies the water in the process. The aquaponics ecosystem is also equipped with smart automation and monitoring technologies that enhance the productivity and imparts critical thinking skills and knowledge in understanding the relationship and balance of the various basic conditions between crops and fishes.
The Oceansing Aquaponics System is an ecosystem that is customized and enhanced by Metro Farm technical experts to enable the growing of crops and fishes in one system only. The aquaponics ecosystem combines the strengths of traditional aquaculture and hydroponics growing methods to complement each other and strike the balance for both crops and fishes to co-exist together. The basic principle of aquaponics relies on feeding the fish and using the produced fish waste as essential nutrients for the crops. The fish waste are broken down by microbes and worms to produce the essential nutrients that are absorbed by the crops. Through this process, the crops help to clean and purify the water back to the fishes.
The Oceansing Aquaponics System provides an excellent learning platform where students need not travel long distances to rural farms to understand what farming is about. Urban school farming is feasible and can be clean, fun and enjoyable. Students can grow their own food right in their school and experience first-hand for themselves what it means to be a urban farmer and better appreciate the importance of food and growing our own food. Students under Geylang Methodist School get to learn essential science knowledge covering seed germination, plant nutrition, plant respiration, photosynthesis, single cell, lifecycles of fishes and plants, growing conditions of different variety of crops and herbs, control of water parameters and conditions required for crop and fish growth.
Students can engage in scenario learning and role playing to take on leadership roles while taking care of the crops and fishes. They can make use of the smart automation and monitoring technologies to determine the growth rate and progress of the crops and fishes. They can make their own assumptions supported with readings from the smart sensors to confirm the theories that they have learnt from their textbooks. Through the process, they can further enhance their learning experience by sharing their observations with peers and families on social media channels. Teachers can participate in the students’ learning journey by providing constructive feedbacks and suggestions on how they can improve.
Having spending much time on growing their own crops and fishes, students can get to enjoy the fruits of their labour when the crops and fishes grow big and healthy and they get to eat and share the food that they grow with their families and friends. Through the Oceansing Aquaponics ecosystem, we hope to bring the message across to students on the importance of producing enough food to ensure food security for our own nation.
Giving our students the opportunity to explore, interact and engage in the natural life cycles of living things is a big step towards cultivating a more enriching learning experience for students of the new millennials.
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