4G have been taking care of the aquaponics system at YIS. Now mid way through the year our fish began to die. This has been extremely distressing us. On the 20th of January we had our 2nd fish death and decided we needed to take some action. We decided to drop what we were doing and try to find out what was going wrong. Students used books, the library, they interviewed specialists on skype, they experimented, they researched on the computer and they spoke to adults around the school. We all had the same question in mind ‘Why are our fish dying?’ Later students were responsible for presenting to the group what they had found out.
I would like to highlight two of my students, one Korean and one Israeli. Both students began English at the beginning of the school year. They were able to use youtube to access multimedia that is very visual, this allowed them to gain an understanding of the system, then form their own ideas and opinions about the problems. My point being that language does not need to be a barrier to inquiry.
Action taken as a result of the research was- The fish were put in quarantine and treated for Ick (students realised that if they treated them while in the system then the medicine would kills the plants.
- Students learned how to test PH & Amonia levels. They then created a weekly schedual to test and monitor levels
- Students planted more plants so the plants could more easily keep up with the fish waste. Thus keeping the amonia levels under control.
- Students discovered the perfect amount of food to give fish and now monitor this carefully.
- Students added some sea shells the system in an attempt to control the PH levels.
- Students added a heater to the system to encourage bacteria growth.
Students eventually came to the conclusion that it was probably many problems with our system that killed the fish.