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Aquaponics lessons help East Middle School students grow produce

Published: Mar. 18, 2021 at 6:29 PM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) -East Middle School students are getting a hands-on opportunity to grow fruits and vegetables by using a unique process.

Instead of using dirt to help plants grow, Aquaponics filters water from a fish tank and uses the re-filtered fish waste to provide the nutrients to the plants which grow in rocks.

Western Dakota Tech designed and built the system for Jason Cerny’s classes at East.

The Aquaponics system helps build students’ knowledge in the STEM program.

With kale and strawberries currently growing, the project gives students first-hand experience in seeing what it takes for food to arrive at their plates.

“Every day they are coming up and looking at the system and reporting back to me, Mr. Cerny you should see the strawberry today. Just the excitement they have is something I will cherish forever,” Jason Cerny, English and Social Studies teacher at East

“It is really fun, and you feel a part of something, and seeing it there you feel proud,” Kaylie McColom

Mr. Cerny hoped to serve some of the produce they grew in the school lunchroom ... but due to COVID ... that is not an option currently available.

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